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Sentara Healthcare celebrates more than 130 years in pursuit of its mission – “we improve health every day.” Named to IBM Watson Health’s 2018 “Top 15 Health Systems,” Sentara is an integrated, not-for-profit system of 12 hospitals in Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina, including a Level I trauma center, the Sentara Heart Hospital and the Sentara Healthcare Cardiovascular Research Institute, the Sentara Brock Cancer Center and the accredited Sentara Cancer Network, two orthopedic hospitals, and the Sentara Neurosciences Institute. The Sentara family also includes four medical groups, Nightingale Regional Air Ambulance and ground medical transport, home care and hospice, ambulatory outpatient campuses, advanced imaging and diagnostic centers, a clinically integrated network, the Sentara College of Health Sciences and the Optima Health Plan and Virginia Premier Health Plan serving 858,000 members in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio. With nearly 30,000 employees and ranked one of Forbes “America’s Best Employers” in 2018, Sentara is strategically focused on clinical quality and safety, innovation and creating an extraordinary health care experience for our patients and members.
HIPEC (Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Treatment) uses high doses of heated chemotherapy to penetrate and destroy the cancer cells that remain in the abdomen after surgery. HIPEC has been used as a palliative measure to control disease, but the technology is now used as a preventive treatment.
HIPEC surgery can be used for patients with cancers that either start or spread to the abdomen, including appendiceal, colorectal, lung and ovarian cancers.
What is Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy treatment?
Complex and advanced abdominal cancers are difficult for physicians to treat because cancer cells are woven through the thin membranes of the peritoneum that wraps around the abdomen and internal organs. These microscopic cancer cells are often left behind during surgical procedures that remove abdominal tumors.
HIPEC uses high doses of chemotherapy to penetrate and destroy the cancer cells that remain in the abdomen after surgery. High doses of chemotherapy enable physicians to concentrate the solution locally within the abdomen, minimizing side effects and improving the absorption.
How does it work?
Before HIPEC treatment is administered, surgeons perform cytoreductive surgery to remove as many visible tumors as possible within the abdomen. Then, the heated, sterilized chemotherapy solution is delivered directly to the abdomen through catheters placed in the abdomen. The catheters are connected to a perfusion machine which warms the solution and administers the chemotherapy in one or two doses over a prescribed time period of up to 120 minutes. When complete, the abdomen is rinsed with saline solution and the catheters are removed.
Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC treatment together can take 6-12 hours to perform. The only HIPEC-trained physicians in Hampton Roads, Va., are members of the Sentara Cancer Network, and offer HIPEC at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Sentara CarePlex Hospital.
Virginia Beach resident Sue Frey discusses her 2015 diagnosis with advanced stages ovarian cancer & the life-saving HIPEC procedure she underwent at Sentara Cancer Network.