Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC)

HIPEC is one approach to fighting advanced abdominal cancer that has proven effective for many patients with certain types of metastatic cancer.

In the HIPEC procedure, the surgeon first removes all the cancer that can be surgically removed. This part of the procedure, called debulking or cytoreductive surgery, might include removing organs such as the spleen, diaphragm, small or large bowel, and lining of the abdomen, and destroying with a laser any cancer that cannot be removed, with the goal being to eliminate all visible disease.

Next the chemotherapy fluid, warmed to around 106 degrees Fahrenheit, is circulated throughout the abdominal cavity for about 90 minutes. The heat and the chemotherapy work together to kill any microscopic cells that may have been left behind, while at the same time leaving healthy tissue unchanged.

After 90 minutes the chemotherapy fluids are washed out, and the operation is brought to a conclusion.

Sometimes referred to as hot chemo, HIPEC can benefit certain patients with types of cancer including colorectal, appendiceal, mesothelioma, pseudomyxoma, and ovarian cancer. For appendix cancer and peritoneal mesothelioma, HIPEC is the treatment of choice.

Candidates for HIPEC are typically patients with stage four cancer. In many cases these patients have already undergone surgery and chemotherapy. For some, HIPEC can be life-saving; for others, HIPEC can slow down the cancer, improve quality of life, and extend the time of remission.

To learn if you might be a candidate for the HIPEC procedure, ask your doctor, or call Cancer Care at Saint Francis at (860) 714-4680.