The Maryland Proton Treatment Center (MPTC) is proud to be the only center in the world to offer thermal therapy and proton therapy at the same facility. Since the fall of 2018, MPTC has offered deep-tissue external thermal therapy as a potential way to boost survival chances for patients.
Thermal therapy works by heating the tumor tissue to moderate temperatures (between 104-110 degrees Fahrenheit), dilating the tumor blood vessels. This brings more oxygen into the tumor, which makes cancer cells more vulnerable to radiation therapy.
Prior to the introduction of deep-tissue thermal therapy at MPTC, external thermal therapy, or superficial hyperthermia, was already in use by the Department of Oncology at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC). It is highly recommended when treating breast cancer patients with chest wall reoccurrence, as well as other superficial or palpable cancers, especially occurring in an area of previous radiation.
However, unlike external thermal therapy, which targets cancers closer to the surface, MPTC’s deep-tissue therapy is able to treat cancers that are deeper in the body. This includes cancers of the abdominal and pelvic region, including those of the bladder, rectum, cervix, ovaries, pancreas and connective tissue, which are known as sarcomas.
Additional Thermal Therapy Resources
Thermal Therapy Fact Sheet: An overview of how thermal therapy works and its benefits
Meet MPTC’s Zeljko Vujaskovic, MD, a renowned researcher in radiation biology interested in finding new ways to treat and eradicate deadly cancers through unique treatments, including thermal therapy:
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