(NaturalNews) Doctors are increasingly exploring the potential of simple heat as a safe way of destroying cancer cells while leaving the body's healthy cells unaffected.
The evidence that heat is an effective cancer treatment is compelling, but scientists remain unclear exactly why it seems to work so well. One theory suggests that fevers fight infection in part by helping the immune system become hypersensitive and thereby better able to detect and fight threats -- such as cancer cells -- that it might otherwise overlook.
According to this theory, the immune system is capable of destroying cancer cells and probably does so daily -- cancer only develops fully when a patch of cells is missed. Heat therefore stimulates the immune system and enables it to eliminate more advanced and aggressive forms of the disease.
"Could it be that the ever-growing number of people developing cancer are doing so because, nowadays, we have fewer infections and, therefore, fewer fevers?" asks Telegraph columnist Judith Potts. "Does this mean that the immunization program, antibiotics and better hygiene have created the cancer monster?"
To test this hypothesis, researchers are attempting to kick-start the immune systems of cancer patients by injecting them with relatively harmless bacteria (listeria) that are easily detected by the immune system. They hope that the bacterial infection will trigger a heightened immune response that can then eliminate the cancer as well.
A second theory suggests that heat may directly destroy cancer cells, thus explaining recent accounts of seemingly overnight cures using heat therapy. This may occur because many tumors have poor blood circulation, making them especially susceptible to cell death from overheating. This hypothesis is currently being tested by placing cancer patients under sedation in an infrared heating box for eight hours two days after they have undergone chemotherapy and taken immune-boosting drugs. The box will raise their body temperatures to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
Although the mechanisms underlying heat treatment continue to be debated, that is not stopping many doctors from offering the treatments to their patients today.
Texas Oncology, an independent cancer practice affiliated with U.S. Oncology and the U.S. Oncology Research network, recently acquired the BSD-500 Hyperthermia System from its maker, BSD Medical Corporation, in order to be able to offer heat treatment to more patients.
"We have known for years that hyperthermia was a promising treatment against cancer in the laboratory," said Barry N. Wilcox of Texas Oncology. "Thanks to many dedicated scientists and clinicians, we now have very good clinical data and an excellent delivery device to offer our patients. Texas Oncology, along with US Oncology, is very excited to bring this technology to our patients and our network of doctors."
The BSD-500 uses external or internal antennas, or both, to induce hyperthermia in the body or in a tumor directly. It has received pre-market FDA approval for the treatment of cancer as either a standalone treatment or in conjunction with radiation therapy.
A private clinic in Mexico, the Hope4Cancer Institute, also offers hyperthermia therapy, although only as a standalone treatment. Medical Director Antonio Jimenez is a cancer researcher committed to finding non-invasive cancer treatments that come without the severe side effects that normally accompany radiation, surgery or drug treatments.
In addition to using sound therapy to overheat and kill cancer cells, the Hope4Cancer Institute also attempts to mitigate the effects of cancer die-off on the body with a specialized diet, infrared therapy, infrared saunas and massage therapy, along with organic coffee enemas and IV therapy to purge the body of the dead cells.
"Heat therapy helps dissolve toxins in the blood so you can sweat them out," writes Edward F. Group III in his book Health Begins in the Colon.
"We address all aspects of the cancer – spiritual, emotional and physical," Jimenez said. "We address the cause of the cancer and help the immune system fight the disease."