Can Hyperthermia Kill Cancer Cells? - Karen Berrios

Can Hyperthermia Kill Cancer Cells?

On a personal experience, hyperthermia was one of the first treatments I ever did to heal thyroid cancer. I did it for the first two years very frequently as I had bought the hyperthermia dome to follow the treatment at home religiously 3 times a week. After I ended up dropping this treatment and bought the infrared sauna to do instead. The short story of this article when it comes to my opinion, is that hyperthermia is wonderful for detox, but not useful for cancer cells. I’ll let you be the judge though when you see some of the research.

So the treatment of Hyperthermia means using heat to treat cancer cells. That is what alternative and conventional oncology treatment healing centers will tell you.

Hyperthermia is highly controversial to this day but is promising for being a great treatment in cancer- it’s just not one that will actually kill the cancer cells themselves. I am pro hyperthermia, but not for what alternative medicine says it can do- kill cancer cells.

For over 5,000 years, Ancient Egyption doctors have used heat in the treatment of cancer. There is something to it. In the current alternative medical world, there are doctors who believe in this practice and use hyperthermia to hopefully aid in killing cancer cells, or at least improving other treatments like chemotherapy. In reality- to truly kill cancer cells (and it is not 100%) the heat would have to be massively high. More on that later.

How Heat Affects Cancer

I think before getting into the details of hyperthermia (a heat technique) and cancer work together- it is important to look at how heat may affect cancer in the first place.

There are certain heat treatments that aim to obliterate cancer cells, those treatments are things like radio waves or lasers as well as ultrasound waves. Hyperthermia is different from that.

The treatments that obliterate cancer cells (aka destroy them) get so high that they basically cook the cancer. Hyperthermia typically uses lower temperatures as it is easier on the body and what this does is potentially help the cells become more receptive to other treatments. On a personal note- I do wonder if increasing the blood flow would be more harmful to the patient as it could be a way of activating/ altering the function of cancer cells- more research on this would be needed to conclude.

A common form of hyperthermia that you yourself may practice today in dry sauna or infrared sauna. As mentioned above, I had bought a hyperthermia dome sauna to follow the treatment routine at home after a month stay at a medical cancer treatment center in Mexico. Personally, I’m not certain I would purchase one today knowing what I now know- that it really does not kill cancer cells the way I was doing the protocol.

Hyperthermia and Cancer Cells

Hyperthermia has been shown to help a wide range of cancers including colon cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, brain cancer, and more! Just not on its own. (Source)

When it comes to these cancers, it has been thought that hyperthermia can improve radiation treatments by up to 50%! That’s incredible, but again, this is in conjunction with a very serious treatment like radiation.

It also could be useful in chemotherapy. The thought is that hyperthermia does not kill cancer cells outright, but it primes the cancer cell for treatment. Meaning that the cancer cell will be more likely to die off from treatment because hyperthermia was used before. But we must remind ourselves- if we are using hyperthermia to kill cancer cells, then we would also need to do other treatments side by side.

Another thing to note is that sometimes tumor cells can have a hard time getting killed in chemotherapy and radiation. It's theorized that hyperthermia can help make the treatments more effective. More studies are needed.

One thing that is interesting is that hyperthermia can sensitize cancer stem cells (aka the root of cancer) in preparation for radiation. This does not mean kill them but sensitize them.  I am always talking about how it is not just important to go after cancer cells, but the stem cells as well. This is why many treatments fail today- they address cancer cells but not cancer stem cells. Again, I believe that hyperthermia (how it is practiced in the mainstream world) on its own will not kill cancer cells nor cancer stem cells.

One study mentioned how hyperthermia can also increase blood flow to tumors. Theorizing that it’s very important because it makes tumor cells more sensitized to radiation as well as chemotherapy.

In contrast, this study showed that malignant tissue blood flow increased by a factor of 1.3. This was only happening when the tumor was heated at 44 degrees for more than 45 minutes. The study said that nevertheless, even with this greater increase in the blood flow- it was never more than that of the tumor. It was also found that the tumor was usually less or equal to surrounding normal tissue.

I like to make the observation that the temperature and length of treatment make a HUGE difference in the possibility of helping or supporting other treatments.

Hyperthermia as a stand-alone therapy is useless to kill cancer cells unless it reaches 43.5 c minimum for a duration of at least 45 minutes which translates to 110 F for the entire body which is unbearable. Many patients need to be sedated to undergo this.


Hyperthermia and Cancer Drugs

One thing to look at (on a more positive note) is the theory that hyperthermia can increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs. The Hyperthermia Cancer Institute says this: “Hyperthermia significantly enhances the effectiveness of various anticancer drugs. Hyperthermia works synergistically with chemotherapy drugs against cancer cells, allowing the drugs to more specifically target the tumor. This increases chemotherapy’s impact on cancer without additional chemotherapy side effects.” Just again a reminder that hyperthermia can be great as a detox protocol, one to help make lifestyle changes and potentially help other cancer treatments, but hyperthermia in and of itself is not an effective cancer treatment.

Mainstream science doesn’t recognize hyperthermia as a “sure-fire” cure for healing cancer for a reason. There are entire studies done on the “possible benefits” of hyperthermia in conjunction with chemotherapy, but it has not once been proven to be a monotherapy to kill off cancer cells.

The Immune system and Cancer Cells

It should be noted that Hyperthermia has been shown to enhance the immune response in one’s body. This is one reason I really enjoy and find peace in using my infrared sauna for hyperthermia practices- I love knowing that it is boosting my immune system. I just don’t look at it as something that is killing cancer cells.

A PubMed science analysis said this on the subject: “There is a growing body of evidence linking the cellular response to heat stress with the response of the immune system to cancer. The anti-tumor immune response can be markedly enhanced by treatment with hyperthermia particularly in the fever range. In addition, the heat shock proteins (hsp) which are produced in abundant quantities in cells exposed to heat are potent immune modulators and can lead to stimulation of both the innate and adaptive immune responses to tumors.”

Take that how you will, just know more science is needed until anything can be conclusive on hyperthermia. As you can tell, I am pro hyperthermia! I am just not pro saying it can cure cancer.

Final Thoughts:

Hyperthermia is definitely something to consider no matter which treatment you are seeking out. It is wonderful for detox. But considering the extremely high temperatures needed in order to achieve the desired results (and even then it is not guaranteed) I think hyperthermia should be treated as a detox protocol, a way to relax, possibly a therapy to use on the side of harsher treatments in order to improve quality of life- but nothing more than that.
To end- in my case, I practiced hyperthermia faithfully for years and my results stayed the same. I believe it helped me detox and relax, but I don’t believe it played much of a hand in healing my cancer diagnosis.

What are your thoughts? Have you tried hyperthermia?

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