Scripps Health offers a specialized cancer treatment known as hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) in San Diego for patients with cancers whose cells have spread to the abdominal area. These instances may involve cancers of the appendix, colon, ovaries and stomach.
Physicians perform cytoreductive surgery to remove a tumor or malignancies before moving to the HIPEC procedure. HIPEC treatment includes the circulation of chemotherapy drugs heated to 107° F (42° C) into the patient’s abdominal cavity for 90 minutes before surgical wounds are closed and treatment is completed.
HIPEC is performed in the hospital operating room while the patient remains under general anesthesia. Heated chemotherapy applied directly in the area of cancer cells offers an alternative to traditional forms of chemotherapy, which require multiple doses orally or intravenously, post-surgery over several weeks.
Although HIPEC is not widely available in the U.S., it has shown promise as an alternative cancer treatment for patients. Doctors and researchers are studying HIPEC in clinical trials, some of which are sponsored by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
HIPEC can potentially extend a patient’s life or improve quality of life for patients with late-stage cancers that have spread to the abdominal cavity.
You may be a candidate for cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC at Scripps. This treatment combination is most commonly used in cases of:
- Colorectal cancer: cancers of the colon and/or rectum.
- Mucinous adenocarcinoma of appendix: cancer of cells lining the appendix and that produce mucin, the primary component of mucus.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma: cancerous or non-cancerous tumors in the abdominal cavity lining.
- Pseudomyxoma peritonei: accumulations of mucus in the peritoneal cavity that may be caused by ruptures of ovarian cysts, appendix or other abdominal tissues, as well as mucus-secreting cells that can attach to the peritoneal lining and produce mucus.
Surgeons performing HIPEC at Scripps since 2007 have seen its benefits first-hand in many difficult cases of peritoneal cancer treated for local, national and international patients.
As part of the HIPEC program — available at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla — Scripps nurses receive specialized training.