The objective of this theoretical study is to design an ultrasound (US) cylindrical phased array that can be used for hyperthermia (40-44 degrees C) treatment of tumours in the intact breast. Simultaneously, we characterize the influence of acoustic and thermal heterogeneities on the specific absorption rate (SAR) and temperature patterns to determine the necessity of using heterogeneous models for a US applicator design and treatment planning. Cylindrical configurations of monopole transducers are studied on their ability to generate interference patterns that can be steered electronically to the location of the target region. Hereto, design parameters such as frequency, number of transducers per ring, ring distance and number of rings are optimized to obtain a small primary focus, while suppressing secondary foci. The models account for local heterogeneities in both acoustic (wave velocity and absorption) and thermal (blood perfusion rate, heat capacity and conductivity) tissue properties. We used breast models with a central tumour (30 x 20 x 38 mm(3)) and an artificial thorax tumour (sphere with a radius of 25 mm) to test the design. Simulations predict that a US cylindrical phased array, consisting of six rings with 32 transducers per ring, a radius of 75 mm and 66 mm distance between the first and sixth transducer ring, operating at a frequency of 100 kHz, can be used to obtain 44 degrees C in the centre of tumours located anywhere in the intact breast. The dimensions of the volumes enclosed by the 41 degrees C iso-temperature are 19 x 19 x 21 mm(3) and 21 x 21 x 32 mm(3) for the central and the thorax tumours, respectively. It is demonstrated that acoustic and thermal heterogeneities do not disturb the SAR and temperature patterns.