"SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- More than 232,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer last year.
When treatments fail and the cancer comes back patients are often left with few options.
Now, a new therapy is heating up tumors.
Two years ago doctors told Lisa Ridgeway she had triple negative breast cancer, a very aggressive disease with no cure.
"There's not a lot of drugs that work, or work for a long period of time," said Ridgeway
The mom of two was facing a typical life expectancy of just three years.
"That's a mom's horror story, knowing that you aren't going to be here," said Ridgeway
Lisa had surgery, radiation and chemo, but her cancer came back two more times.
Now she's trying something new. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic are offering patients hyperthermia treatment.
"Hyperthermia is heat therapy. It's actually been around since the time of the Egyptians," said Dr. Jennifer Yu, a Radiation Oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
A hot bag is placed on top of the skin and a microwave unit heats the bag and the tissue under it to about 110 degrees. The heat increases blood flow and makes tumors more sensitive to radiation.
“It improves cell kill," said Dr. Yu
Typically, treatments last one hour and are performed one to two times a week.
Hyperthermia is also used in other cancers such as melanomas, gynecologic cancers, and head and neck cancers."