Cancers located in the abdominal cavity can be difficult to treat, especially when they have spread to the lining. These cancers may include:
- Colorectal cancer
- Cancer of the appendix
- Gastric (stomach) cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Peritoneal carcinomatosis – a rare form of cancer
A novel procedure called HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy) combines surgery, heat and chemotherapy. This powerful treatment can dramatically improve quality of life — and even extend it — for patients with advanced abdominal cancers.
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HIPEC at Edwards Hospital
The HIPEC procedure is not as complex as it sounds. The peritoneum is the membrane that lines your abdominal cavity and also covers the organs inside of it. “Intraperitoneal” is treatment delivered throughout the abdominal cavity. “Hyperthermic chemotherapy” is a chemotherapy solution that has been heated to intensify its effect.
The first step of the HIPEC procedure is a common type of cancer surgery called debulking or cytoreductive surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon removes all visible tumors from inside the abdominal cavity.
Once the tumor is removed, the next step is administration of a heated chemotherapy solution into the peritoneal cavity. This baths the entire area in toxins that target the cancer cells. The cancer-killing medication circulates throughout the abdomen for about two hours. The goal is to destroy all tumor cells that may remain after surgery.
What are the advantages of HIPEC?
HIPEC offers many advantages to patients. The application of heat intensifies the effect of the chemotherapy drugs. Since the chemotherapy is concentrated in one area, there is less exposure of the toxic drugs to the rest of the body. This results in fewer side effects for the patient.
Only a few hospitals in Chicagoland offer this aggressive treatment and only about four surgeons perform it. Edward-Elmhurst Health is proud to offer patients the expertise of skilled physicians, including George Salti, M.D., F.A.C.S., one of the country’s most experienced surgical oncologists in HIPEC.
Who is eligible for HIPEC?
Not all patients meet the criteria for undergoing HIPEC. There are three requirements:
- The patient must be in good enough health to withstand the rather long procedure
- Cancer must be confined to the abdominal cavity
- All tumors must be surgically removable
You, your surgical oncologist and the rest of your care team will determine if HIPEC is appropriate for you.