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Futuristic Microwave May Treat Cervical Cancer

Microwave Hyperthermia Could Add Power to Chemo/Radiation Treatment

Big Test Already Under Way continued...

But chemotherapy and radiation are famously difficult to endure. Will adding hyperthermia be worth the effort for patients?

"I would worry about patients," Koh says. "With chemo and radiotherapy you are already pushing people to what would be considered the limits of tolerance. ... My concern is if you add hyperthermia, they may go beyond the limits of patient tolerance."

But Koh quickly adds that if hyperthermia makes treatment more effective, it would certainly be worth it.

"With chemoradiation, at least 20% of patients have continued cancer spread in the pelvis or the tumor comes back at the primary site," he says. "The promise of hyperthermia is that it might improve pelvic control and reduce the overall remission rate. If this study holds true, this is worth testing."

Tests already are under way. An international clinical trial is randomly assigning 400 cervical cancer patients to either chemoradiation or chemoradiation plus microwave hyperthermia.

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