Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a breakthrough treatment option that may help to prolong life for patients with advanced cancer of the abdominal cavity.
Until recently, treatment for advanced abdominal cancer merely provided relief from symptoms, with no hope of stopping disease progression or prolonging life. In clinical trials conducted by the National Cancer Institute, the combination of cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC has been shown to slow or prevent recurrence of cancer and significantly improve the survival rate of patients.
Drexel Surgery performs HIPEC on patients with colon, ovarian, appendiceal, and gastric cancers, as well as low-grade sarcomas and pseudomyxoma peritonei. This surgery is performed in conjunction with a patient’s oncologist, who continues to manage their care after the procedure. Drexel Surgery’s multidisciplinary cancer team is one of a handful of teams in the Philadelphia area that offers this treatment option.
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HIPEC at Drexel University
How the Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Procedure Works
During the HIPEC procedure, surgery is combined with chemotherapy that is administered directly into the patient’s abdomen to destroy any remaining microscopic cancer cells.
- After removing all visible tumors, the Drexel surgeon bathes the patient’s abdomen with a heated and sterilized chemotherapy solution.
- This heated, high-dose chemotherapy is continuously circulated throughout the patient’s abdominal cavity for 90 minutes.
- Recovery time depends on the extent of the surgery, but patients can expect to stay at Hahnemann University Hospital for approximately 7 to 14 days following the procedure.
- Patients are able to go home once they are able to eat, walk, and move their bowels. Normal activities are typically resumed within four to six weeks post procedure.
Benefits of Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy
HIPEC, when combined with surgery, has been clinically shown to significantly extend the survival rate of patients in clinical trials.
HIPEC provides greater concentrations of the chemotherapy drug where it is needed. It doesn’t result in the common side effects of intravenous chemotherapy, such as nausea, fatigue, or hair loss, because the chemotherapy drugs do not circulate throughout the bloodstream and attack healthy cells.
HIPEC destroys any microscopic cancer cells that might remain in the patient’s abdomen and cause a recurrence of the cancer.
Considerations for Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Candidates
Patients are selected for HIPEC based on the type and location of their tumor(s). Drexel Surgery’s goal is always a positive outcome for the patient. We have a dedicated, multidisciplinary cancer team of surgeons, oncologists, anesthesiologists, and nurses who are expertly trained to treat patients with advanced abdominal cancers.