Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), available at Atlantic Health System Cancer Care’s Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center, is a safe and effective treatment that can destroy microscopic cancer cells and prevent cancer recurrence. When combined with surgery, HIPEC is clinically proven to improve the chances of survival for patients with cancers that originate in or spread to the abdomen, including:
Benefits of HIPEC
Traditional chemotherapy that’s administered by mouth or injection cannot always reach or adequately affect all cancer cells. HIPEC, in contrast, thoroughly penetrates tissues in hard to reach areas, destroying microscopic cancer cells before they have a chance to infect surgical scar tissue. What’s more, because HIPEC is highly-targeted to specific areas and is not circulated throughout the blood stream, it does not attack healthy cells. This eliminates common chemotherapy side effects, like nausea, fatigue and hair loss.
What to Expect During HIPEC
Before HIPEC is administered, the patient is given a general anesthesia and as much of the tumor, lymph nodes and cancerous tissue is surgically removed from the abdomen. The area is then thoroughly bathed in a high dose of chemotherapy that’s been heated to improve tissue penetration. Afterwards, the liquid is drained and the surgical incision is closed.
Patients undergoing HIPEC can expect a five to 10-day hospital stay, depending on the extent of their surgery. Some may require a temporary colostomy until they can move their bowels and most will resume normal activities within four to six weeks. Traditional chemotherapy is sometimes required depending on the tumor type and if any tissue remains after surgery.