With hyperthermia, the tumour tissue will be artificially overheated from the outside. The treatment aims to destroy tumour cells by raising the temperatures above 39.5 degrees Celsius, or to inhibit their growth, whilst at the same time the healthy tissue is not affected by the heat.
The overheating of the tumour cells causes a lack of oxygen so that the heated cells become acidificated and a nutrient deficiency appears in the tumour. The metabolism of the cells is disturbed which leads to cell death (apoptosis) of the tumour cells.
A further goal of hyperthermia can be to raise the effectiveness of chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. In some cases, an ineffective chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy can become effictive. Hyperthermia causes changes on the cell walls caused by so-called heat-shock proteins. The cancer cells then respond much more effectively to chemotherapy and radiation.
When used properly, hyperthermia has no serious side-effects. To avoid skin burns, heat rays are passed through cooling water cushions. During the overheating, some symptons can occur such as a mild fever.
The Hyperthermia Centre Hannover applies different methods with good results:
Wholebody-Hyperthermia, and Loco-regional deep hyperthermia and especially Prostate-Hyperthermia.