Deaconess Medical
800 West Fifth Ave.
Spokane, WA 99204

 

 

For many, a diagnosis of widespread abdominal cancer triggers a strong desire to fight the disease using any means possible, including a willingness to travel great distances to receive the most advanced treatment. Thanks to Ryan Holbrook, M.D., board certified surgical oncologist with Cancer Care Northwest, and the surgical cancer team at Deaconess Hospital, patients facing such a diagnosis don’t have to travel far for an advanced cancer treatment otherwise available primarily at major, academic medical centers. Dr. Holbrook is the only doctor in the Inland Northwest performing HIPEC, which stands for heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy, a procedure used to treat advanced abdominal cancers. This complicated but promising procedure isn’t available anywhere in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah or Alaska.

What is the procedure like?

For patients with abdominal cancers, HIPEC is an alternate or complementary treatment option to traditional chemotherapy. Following surgery to remove visible tumors in the abdomen, a heated, sterilized chemotherapy solution is then delivered directly to the abdomen. By administering the solution directly in the abdomen, the intent is to penetrate and destroy any cancer cells that remain after surgery. The heated solution is continuously circulated throughout the peritoneal cavity for up to 90 minutes.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

Administering heated chemotherapy in the abdomen at the time of surgery allows for greater concentrations of the drug where it’s needed. In addition to the cancer killing properties of the chemotherapy drugs, the heat kills cancer cells while not affecting normal cells since cancer cells have been shown to react to heat more readily than healthy cells do. Dr. Holbrook has been performing HIPEC at Deaconess Hospital since 1996 and has completed over 200 cases. The treatment can take up to 10 hours, since it includes both surgery and careful administration of the chemotherapy solution. The procedure improves drug absorption with reduced exposure to the rest of the body. As a result, the normal side effects of chemotherapy can often be avoided. The chemotherapy is kept in the abdomen near the cancer, which minimizes the rest of the body’s exposure to the treatment.

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HIPEC at Deaconess Medical

HIPEC is an alternative and innovative method of delivering chemotherapy, which is commonly used to treat many types of cancer, to the body. Unlike traditional chemotherapy that is delivered intravenously, HIPEC delivers chemotherapy directly into the abdomen making it a good option for cancers that originated in or have spread to the abdominal cavity. How does HIPEC work? First, your surgeon removes any visible tumors from the abdomen. Next, HIPEC delivers heated chemotherapy directly inside the abdomen to help destroy any remaining cancer cells and very small tumors that cannot be seen by the surgeon. This is because the chemotherapy circulates inside the abdomen, allowing it to reach more places. The goal of HIPEC is to prevent these cells from growing into new tumors and causing

How does HIPEC work?

First, your surgeon removes any visible tumors from the abdomen. Next, HIPEC delivers heated chemotherapy directly inside the abdomen to help destroy any remaining cancer cells and very small tumors that cannot be seen by the surgeon. This is because the chemotherapy circulates inside the abdomen, allowing it to reach more places. The goal of HIPEC is to prevent these cells from growing into new tumors and causing First, your surgeon removes any visible tumors from the abdomen. Next, HIPEC delivers heated chemotherapy directly inside the abdomen to help destroy any remaining cancer cells and very small tumors that cannot be seen by the surgeon. This is because the chemotherapy circulates inside the abdomen, allowing it to reach more places. The goal of HIPEC is to prevent these cells from growing into new tumors and causing the cancer to return.

What are the benefits of HIPEC procedures?

  • HIPEC allows for a higher concentration of chemotherapy to be delivered into the abdomen more effectively and safer than standard chemotherapy, which is delivered intravenously.
  • This type of chemotherapy is best at killing cancer cells that are too small to be seen with the naked eye.
  • Chemotherapy delivered through HIPEC causes fewer side effects than intravenous chemotherapy. This is because the high concentrations of chemotherapy solution are unable to cross what is known as the peritoneal plasma barrier.
  • Experts say that pairing surgery and HIPEC together may be more beneficial than chemotherapy alone.

Am I a candidate for HIPEC?

Typical HIPEC patients are those with certain Stage IV abdominal cancers. Many are seeking an alternative to traditional chemotherapy or radiation therapy, as these options offer limited success treating advanced abdominal cancers. Patients also may have been told that no other treatment will work, but are still hoping to find a solution.