A highly advanced, two-phase surgery now available at CentraState is bringing new hope to certain patients with specific types of cancer. Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, or HIPEC, combines tumor removal surgery with a heated, concentrated chemotherapy bath inside the abdomen, battling cancer directly at its source and potentially extending lives substantially. HIPEC is typically only available in high-volume, metropolitan cancer centers, and CentraState is one of just a few hospitals in New Jersey to offer this treatment.
“HIPEC surgery requires an incredible collaborative approach with more than 50 team members working together on complex protocols,” explains hepatobiliary and advanced gastrointestinal surgeon Alexander Itskovich, MD, medical director of the Statesir Cancer Center at CentraState. “With this type of team assembled, we have a model to bring additional world-class procedures to CentraState.”
Who’s a Candidate for HIPEC?
Patients who may be a fit for the procedure have one thing in common: stage four cancer that has spread or spilled over into the abdominal cavity, rather than getting into the bloodstream and spreading to different organs. Candidates may include patients with appendiceal cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma (cancer of the abdominal lining), certain colon and ovarian cancers, and some gastric cancers. To help ensure that the patient is a good candidate, the surgeon performs an initial minimally invasive diagnostic procedure to visualize the extent of the cancer.
How Is HIPEC Performed?
In phase one of the procedure, the surgeon removes all visible tumors. In phase two, several catheters are inserted into the abdomen and the initial incision is closed. A special pump provides a saline infusion that warms the abdomen to about 105-107°F – similar to the temperature of a warm bath – which increases the body’s ability to absorb the chemotherapy. A concentrated chemotherapy dose is added to the infusion, and the mixture circulates in the abdomen for about 90 minutes. The entire process takes about eight to 14 hours.
Why Is this Combination the Key to Success?
With surgery alone for these types of intraabdominal cancers, it’s nearly impossible to remove every cancer cell. But the heated chemotherapy solution bathes the abdomen to kill residual cancer cells and reduce the chances of recurrence. In fact, additional chemotherapy is usually unnecessary.
Why Is Such a Large Team Needed?
In addition to the team needed to manage the complexities of the surgery, the chemotherapy requirements are intricate. The solution must be carefully prepared by the Pharmacy, carried to the OR, and administered/monitored by chemotherapy-certified nurses. There are even precise clean-up procedures for the Environmental Services team.
“HIPEC can be incredibly successful in the right patient,” adds Dr. Itskovich. “It means we can get someone to that family wedding or a grandchild’s graduation. It provides new hope for a longer, better life – and it’s one of many ways we’re building a team around our patients to solve complex problems.”
For more information on cancer treatment at CentraState, visit centrastatecancercenter.com or call 855-411-CANCER (855-411-2262).