Hypothermic Treatment for Mesothelioma

Several recent studies suggest that hyperthermia, when combined with radiation or chemotherapy, increases the effectiveness of cancer treatment. Hyperthermia aims to damage cancer cells and reduce tumor size by heating them to temperatures of up to 113°F. There are many modes and mediums to administering hypothermic treatment, which is also referred to as thermal therapy or thermotherapy. This type of treatment is almost always used along with other types of conventional cancer treatments, as hyperthermia makes some cancer cells more sensitive to radiation, immunotherapy, anti-cancer drugs, or chemotherapy.

Hyerthermic treatment is actively being studied for its effectiveness, not only in mesothelioma patients, but also in victims of sarcoma, melanoma, and cancer of the appendix, bladder, breast, brain, cervix, head, neck, esophagus, rectum, and liver. Mesothelioma attorneys hope that advancements in this field will benefit cancer sufferers of all types, and that studies continue to emerge supporting the positive, life-extending effects of hyperthermia. Mesothelioma is directly linked to significant exposure to asbestos, most often in males formerly employed in the automotive, construction, and shipbuilding industries.

Like all invasive disease treatments, hyperthermia has a number of obstacles to overcome before it can be considered a standard cancer treatment. Numerous clinical trials must be conducted to prove the efficacy of the therapy, particularly in conjunction with other forms of treatment.

Most normal tissues are not damaged during hyperthermia if the temperature remains under 111°F. However, higher temperatures may occur in various spots. This can result in burns, blisters, discomfort, or pain. Perfusion techniques can cause tissue swelling, blood clots, bleeding, and other damage to the normal tissues in the perfused area; however, most of these side effects are temporary. Whole-body hyperthermia can cause more serious side effects, including cardiac and vascular disorders, but these effects are uncommon. Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting are commonly observed after whole-body hyperthermia.

• In local hyperthermia, heat is applied to a small area, such as a tumor, using various techniques that deliver energy to heat the tumor. Different types of energy may be used to apply heat, including microwave, radiofrequency, and ultrasound. Depending on the tumor location, there are several approaches to local hyperthermia:

o External approaches are used to treat tumors that are in or just below the skin. External applicators are positioned around or near the appropriate region, and energy is focused on the tumor to raise its temperature.
o Interstitial techniques are used to treat tumors deep within the body, such as brain tumors. This technique allows the tumor to be heated to higher temperatures than external techniques. Under anesthesia, probes or needles are inserted into the tumor. Imaging techniques, such as ultrasound, may be used to make sure the probe is properly positioned within the tumor. The heat source is then inserted into the probe. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a type of interstitial hyperthermia that uses radio waves to heat and kill cancer cells.

• In regional hyperthermia, various approaches may be used to heat large areas of tissue, such as a body cavity, organ, or limb.

o Regional perfusion techniques can be used to treat cancers in the arms and legs, such as melanoma, or cancer in some organs, such as the liver or lung. In this procedure, some of the patient’s blood is removed, heated, and then pumped back into the limb or organ. Anticancer drugs are commonly given during this treatment.
o Continuous hyperthermic peritoneal perfusion (CHPP) is a technique used to treat cancers within the peritoneal cavity (the space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, stomach, and liver), including primary peritoneal mesothelioma and stomach cancer. During surgery, heated anticancer drugs flow from a warming device through the peritoneal cavity. The peritoneal cavity temperature reaches 106-108°F.

• Whole-body hyperthermia is used to treat metastatic cancer that has spread throughout the body. This can be accomplished by several techniques that raise the body temperature to 107-108°F, including the use of thermal chambers (similar to large incubators) or hot water blankets.

If you or someone you loved was diagnosed with mesothelioma, talk to them about the possibility of hypothermic therapy. If you suspect you developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos, you have important legal rights. Contact an experienced mesothelioma lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free legal consultation.

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