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 Hyperthermia with Yag Laser for BBC

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Kel Posted - 03/25/2013 : 23:46:19
Continuous-wave Nd:Yag laser hyperthermia: a successful modality in treatment of basal cell carcinoma

Just ran across this study:
It was observed that malignant tumor cells are more sensitive than normal cells to heat. Hyperthermia is known to be cytotoxic at temperatures above 41 C and selectively lethal to cancer cells. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of continuous wave Nd:Yag laser-induced hyperthermia in treatment of basal cell carcinoma (BCC). The study was performed between April 1995 and August 2000 on 37 patients with BCC selected from the outpatients of the dermatology clinic of al-Minya University Hospital. Patients were treated with continuous-wave Nd:Yag laser hyperthermia at 6-week intervals (laser output power was 10 W, spot size 8 mm, and irradiation time up to 1 minute). Following this treatment, 36 patients (97.3 %) were completely cured. Within a follow-up period of 3-5 years only one recurrence was encountered (2.7 %). Continuous wave Nd:Yag laser-induced hyperthermia should be considered as an alternative treatment for BCC. This simple, bloodless, outpatient procedure showed excellent efficacy and cosmetic result with minimal complication.

Has anyone done this, if so what was your experience. Maybe this is a common solution althought this is new for me.

12   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Clarkster Posted - 08/18/2017 : 14:11:36
Originally posted by pal

I will be stunned if this actually gets rid of the BCC, because it seems too easy--a one-minute heat treatment every 6 weeks?? Come on! On the other hand, the El-Tonsy paper seems credible. We shall see.

How did it work out?
infrared1 Posted - 08/28/2013 : 13:20:48
One thing I just realized: Pal, you DID talk about using an infrared space heater, and that's what drew me in even further!

What I meant about you not trying an infrared device should have said more specifically one of the hand-held or specifically designed devices.

infrared1 Posted - 08/28/2013 : 13:17:56
Hi y'all,

I'm doing some preliminary online research to figure out if infrared light therapy can possibly be used to treat BCC, and I came across this discussion.

The device I have, the DPL (Deep Penetrating Light) LED Light Therapy system by LED Technologies, LLC, is ostensibly designed for skin rejuvenation and pain relief. Its own instructions say not to use it on suspected cancerous lesions, but when you look at product details on the sites of the various businesses selling the device, some don't mention that. I don't know if that's because the info is outdated or if it was left out in order not to scare away potential customers.... Perhaps the device manufacturer simply wanted to be safe rather than sorry.

Anyway, after doing an online search for infrared hypothermia to treat skin cancer, I didn't find much specific, but this forum has gotten closer than anything else so far. Pal, your brief experiment was the most intriguing, and I could see right off that one treatment every 6 weeks is to few and far between. And I wondered that you didn't try an infrared device.

I don't know that I'm going to find any more-specific info on the DPL device I have, i.e. regarding how high the temp in your skin is raised and to what depth, so I'm putting this out to the group to see if anyone knows anything about these consumer-available devices.

In the meantime, I've been covering up my suspicious spot when I treat my face morning and evening (9 minutes each time is their recommendation). It's possible the waves are still getting to it, but I'm not too concerned yet as I've only just started using the device. (Trying it out for skin rejuvenation, but have also used for muscle pain and now curious about other possible use....)

If this doesn't look like a viable option, I'll most likely do the Curaderm BEC-5 treatment, based on what the doctor says. But it doesn't sound like I would want to combine infrared and BEC-5....

Thanks for any insights!
pal Posted - 08/01/2013 : 00:31:17
Sorry about this follow-up being so late. My one treatment described above didn't work--no big surprise there. I didn't follow up with further home-based infrared hyperthermia treatments.

I did play around with various naked incandescent light bulbs, up to 100 Watts, to see if I could generate the required temperature. Lower power than the 400W IR heater would mean less need for masking or shielding surrounding tissue. But with no focusing at all, the bare 100-W bulb was not something I could use on my own, because I'd need to hold steady an inch away or less from the bulb.

So if anyone reading this wants to pick up the torch (pun intended) I'd suggest experimenting with a heat lamp bulb in a reflective housing. Also, it will be much easier to have an assistant helping you. "Operating" on yourself can be unwieldy.

As for me, I'm back to topical treatments and will report my whole case history in a more appropriate thread when I have results.
Kel Posted - 04/15/2013 : 13:23:13
Thanks PAL for the info and your experience - great idea - I am not sure about the thickness or depth of the bbc but from reading info at the Bicher clinic the tumor needs to heated uniformly - do you think you accomplished this - either way I hope it works and look forward to an update - I know that the Bicher Clinic uses an ultrasound type device that allows heating to steady 108 or 110 F to various depths including the surface and I understand it is somewhat of a technical challenge to get uniform heating of the entire area in some cases. Here is a link to one of the devices they say they use.

In a completely different area I know they use yag lasers to breakup large floaters in the vitreous gel of one's eye. There are only 3-4 places in the US that I am aware of where they do this. It is a somewhat controversial practice but what amazes me is that apparently the doctor can pinpoint the energy of the laser on the floater without damaging the retina or other parts of the eye. I had considered this as I have a floater in my right eye from a somewhat benign posterior vitreous detachment which happened a couple of years back - so far I have just lived with it. I am also taking some preventive measures to avoid it happening to the other eye - consulted with for that protocol.
anivoc Posted - 04/11/2013 : 22:40:19

Thanks for the post and being a guinea pig for us.

Yes that would be WAY awesome...Love the meat thermometer idea..45 centigrade seems kind of low...I am sure my RF was a lot higher than that..I could definitely handle 113 degrees Fahrenheit which is about what a nice summer day in Bullhead city is...

Anyway innovative efforts and lets see what your results are... Best of luck and hoping for the best.

Keep us posted.

pal Posted - 04/11/2013 : 16:07:58
This is my first post, but I've used this forum for information since getting my first BCC diagnosis in 2011. Deepest thanks to Dan and all contributors, and to Kel for posting this study. In my couple of years of self-education about cancer and BCCs, I'd never happened across the idea of hyperthermia.

I'm impressed by the results of the El-Tonsy study, and immediately wanted to try hyperthermia experiments on myself. Before getting to the fun stuff, I'd like to make a couple of comments on the paper. I happen to be a former engineer with 10 years of experience with lasers in physics lab settings, so reading this paper reminded me of laser experiments of my youth--which did not involve biological tissue, at least not on purpose! My first thought was that a 10W, 8mm, cw (continuous wave) Nd:YAG beam seems like massive overkill for heating tissue to a moderate temperature. I strongly suspect the quoted power of 10-15W refers to some setting on the laser, and *not* actual power delivered to the target. For comparison, 10W in 8mm diameter is about 200 times the power density of the sun at the earth's surface, and 4000 times the safe exposure level in ANSI standards. The paper doesn't give many engineering details, so we don't know the spatial profile of the beam or the resulting temperature. All we know is they were shooting for something near 45C for 1 minute, and it worked great--and not just on superficial BCCs.

Inspired by the main idea of the paper, I wanted to find a way of applying heat to my BCC in a controlled way to achieve a temperature of 41-45C for 1 minute. I experimented with heating a chunk of metal in a water bath and then holding it against my skin. It gave me a feel (literally!) for the temperatures involved, but didn't provide a completely stable temperature. As it turned out, my second approach was better, easier, and closer to the laser method.

I used the low setting (400W) of a quartz infrared space heater--that's the radiant kind with no fan. By moving my hand (and later, my face) within a couple of inches of the grill of the heater, and using an instant-read digital meat thermometer with the probe held against my skin, it was easy to get constant temperatures in the desired range, and I was able to tolerate 41-45C for 1 minute on my cheek.

Looking in the mirror afterward, I had about a 2x2 inch pink area from the heat, maybe the shade of mild sunburn. The color faded within an hour. If I do it again, I'll probably take more time to shield around treatment area with white cloth or tape or maybe reflective foil to limit the heated area more. The only shielding I did the first time was to cover one eye with a folded up cloth. An even better idea might be to use a smaller radiant heat source, like an incandescent light bulb, to limit the unnecessary heating of surrounding areas. I'm guessing no more than a 100W light bulb is required if you get close enough to it.

It's now about 4 hours later and I'd say the heated cheek feels subtly different from the opposite cheek, and the BCC is a little more tingly than usual, but that's it. No immediate change in visual appearance of the BCC, which in my case is just flaky at the moment.

The El-Tonsy paper did follow ups and repeated treatments at 6-week intervals, so I'll try that also. I just wanted to post now to say that D.I.Y. infrared hyperthermia seems possible. It's just a matter of finding the right radiant source, having a good thermometer (or well-calibrated pain threshold!), and controlling the temperature by adjusting one's distance from the radiant source.

I will be stunned if this actually gets rid of the BCC, because it seems too easy--a one-minute heat treatment every 6 weeks?? Come on! On the other hand, the El-Tonsy paper seems credible. We shall see.

Best wishes to all other experimental self-treaters out there!
anivoc Posted - 03/30/2013 : 07:52:59
Hi Kel

Thanks for following up...I went to the site and looked at the pictures

This was a little different than the system that was used on me. Using laser rather than RF frequency to create the heat.

Firstly in my experience the procedure was no fun at any point..First they have to numb the area / needles going right into the tumor but this is going to have to happen with most medical approaches.

Second it is not mentioned here but the bigger the tumor the more serious the my case and I am sure in the cases of the people in the pictures with bigger lesions, they were pretty swelled up.

Third all the people shown had to have at minimum two treatments... they're statistics were as follows...

Complete disappearance of the tumors required two treatment sessions in 18 patients (49 %), three sessions in 12 patients (32 %), and four sessions in 7 patients (19 %).

The high percentage of success also notes something that all of us with Basal cell skin cancers need to accept as part of the process...

"Scattered islands of basaloid cells were considered a recurrence on histopathological evaluation 3 months after the final session."

These basal cell tumors grows veins to feed blood to the tumor (in the past I have referred to them as roots) as such they are part of the tumor and create the so called islands that are out side of the general tumor area.

No doubt you heat am organic thing up to a high enough temperature(thermosurgery) or down to a low enough temperature (cryosurgery) and you are going to have cell death. I would classify efudex, bloodroot paste, petty spurge as Chemosurgey..The beauty of Bloodroot is it is much more effective after 1 treatment than the heating or freezing methods.

In retrospect and in all honesty had I had the guts to go back and go through the RF thermosurgery 3 or 4 more times I am sure they would have been successful at eradicating the lesions I came in with.

Having done bloodroot and way in the world would I go back for 3 or 4 more treatments of the thermosurgery method.

For certain the bloodroot causes as much or a little more swelling and made me feel nauseous for a few days.The efficacy however is at minimum 3 to 5 times (maybe more) as effective per treatment.

IMO opinion this method is fine for smaller lesions and will probably provide better aesthetic results than MOHs surgery.. On big lesions I'd be interested in getting the people in the study's opinion and experience.

With so many people having success with alternative treatments here, including myself, this procedure would not be my first choice.

Kel Posted - 03/30/2013 : 00:37:40
Anivoc - thanks for sharing your experiences - I think I read a little about your experience elswhere on this forum - I am sorry that it turned out that way. The study for the yag laser shows before and after pictures as part of the study. Seems promising. Also Dan - thank you again for all you do mantaining and contributing to this forum and what looks like some very interesting links as well as the advice on self treatment.
anivoc Posted - 03/28/2013 : 19:29:21
As the forum guinea pig I went to Arizona @ 4 years back for thermosurgery using RF frequency.

I have to say that I was less VERY disappointed.

I had 3 large nodular BCC ..I was told there would be very little pain or swelling...

Easy for them to say..

I looked like I had been a bar room brawl and got the starch knocked out of me.... and not one of the 3 skin cancers was eradicated.

Once in the chair and numbed up he explained that it would take multiple treatments...after the first beating I was done.

Maybe on very small skin cancers but I would not recommend this method over even the knife..which is my last resort...Thermosurgery is not an option in my book.
dan Posted - 03/27/2013 : 20:10:16
Hi Kel, overheating skin cancer cells seems to me like a promising approach but so far there have been no reports either successful or unsuccessful that I know of. There is a hyperthermia reference at Also has all kinds of hyperthermia ideas including a free book.

I wrote this a few years ago at :

Consider trying to overheat the skin cancer with local hyperthermia treatments. Hyperthermia research with internal tumors using microwave probes have been studied for years. No absolute standards have emerged to my knowledge, but a rule of thumb is to heat the tumor to 43C (109.4F) for 45 minutes. For skin cancer, potential self-treatment can be as simple as applying a hot beverage cup or a hot water bottle to the cancer site. Hyperthermia treatments are especially attractive if the skin cancer is located on an extremity such as a hand. One can also consider taking hot baths or showers. Cancer cells are less tolerant of heat than normal cells and are said to die at around 108 degrees F (42.2 degrees C). Also, the poor internal circulation in the tumor makes getting rid of heat difficult, potentially making the strategy more effective. Approach this strategy cautiously because this temperature is close to scalding and some people are more sensitive than others. If it seems too hot it probably is a good idea to back off as the pain threshold is around 106 (41.1C) to 108 degrees F. Buy a digital thermometer (an aquarium thermometer should work) and test the temperature to avoid a scalding injury. Regardless of the thermometer reading (they can be inaccurate), exceeding the pain threshold does not seem wise. A third degree burn will result from exposure to 110F (43.3C) water over ten hours, but only 5 minutes at 120 degrees F (48.9C). Limit the heat treatments to a few minutes a day at temperatures less than 110 F to avoid a scalding injury. If showering, pick a time of day when water pressure is constant (no flushing toilets, etc) to avoid temperature fluctuations. The fact that skin cancer is directly accessible for hyperthermia or heating treatments is a unique opportunity that does not exist for most cancers. Even if temperatures approaching 108 F can not be tolerated this strategy may still be useful. Heating stimulates the circulation to aid pancreatin transportation and eliminate acid buildups at the cancer site.
Kel Posted - 03/25/2013 : 23:58:08
I also have a friend who recently had bladder cancer resolved at the Bicher Cancer Clinic in Los Angeles area. In his case they combined low level radiation with a hyperthermia application of hot water (108 F) on the exterior of the bladder - not sure how long or how often but he was there for a number of weeks. Here is the link if anyone is interested:

It got me to thinking perhaps a sauna session might also kill cancer cells (I did one today and I think the temperature was 180 F). It would be interesting to consult with a knowledgable person in this field to determine the viability, session length and expected frequency one might need to use this as hyperthermia treatment for bbc - that is if it would work at all. If anyone has insight in this regard it would be appreciated.

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