Doctors have used HIPEC, or heated chemotherapy, for years to treat certain abdominal cancers. But now, researchers are testing HIPEC on women with advanced ovarian cancer, who otherwise would have very few options.
Sixty-five-year-old Barbara Franklin loves new beginnings. Ten years ago, Barbara beat breast cancer. Now she’s battling advanced ovarian cancer.
“I was stage four and what symptoms did I have? A little change in bowel movement, and a little bloating,” says Franklin.
Now researchers are studying a treatment called HIPEC to see if it stops the progression of ovarian cancer. It stands for hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy. Doctors remove the tumor, followed by the HIPEC heated treatment delivered directly to the abdomen.
Chief of Surgical Oncology at Mercy Medical Center Armando Sardi, MD, says, “Heat kills cancer cells and is often as effective as chemotherapy.”
During the process, a patient’s abdomen is also carefully manipulated.
“They called it the shake and bake; your body was rolled around so that the chemo went into every nook and cranny so that your chances of reaching those cancerous cells were the best,” says Franklin.
Researchers hope the trial will show that surgery, followed by HIPEC and additional intravenous chemo greatly improves a woman’s odds.
“We’ve found that these treatments have been very effective in many patients who have been told to go home and die after they recur with ovarian cancer,” says Sardi.
Barbara Franklin hopes her treatment gives her many more seasons to savor.
BACKGROUND: Ovarian cancer accounts for about 3 percent of cancers among women, but ranks fifth in cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates about 22,280 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer and about 14,240 women will die from it in 2016. A woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 75 and the chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 100. This cancer mainly develops in older women with about half of the women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer being 63 years or older and it is more common in white women than in African-American women. It is sometimes called the silent killer because by the time it is discovered, it is often in Stage III or Stage IV. Only 45 percent of women with ovarian cancer are likely to survive for five years.(Source: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovariancancer/)