Some types of cancers are very difficult to treat. Cancer that has spread to the lining surfaces of the peritoneal (abdominal) cavity from primary colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, gastric cancer, appendiceal cancer or from mesothelioma and pseudomyxoma peritonei, known as peritoneal carcinomatosis, are such cancers.
Despite numerous recent advances in chemotherapy, the overall chance of chemotherapy being curative is still low, and the side effects are difficult for the patient to endure. However, when these cancers are confined to the peritoneal cavity, Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) becomes an option for candidate patients.
Many of the cancers treated with HIPEC are diseases treated by multiple disciplines in medicine and surgery. It is important that patients discuss HIPEC therapy with their oncologists and surgeon who can guide their therapy appropriately. Sometimes a referral to a Surgical Oncologist or Gynecological Oncologist performing HIPEC is helpful and necessary early at the time of diagnosis. These doctors can help determine if a patient can benefit from HIPEC and then formulate a comprehensive treatment plan.