Treating Cancer with HIPEC

Submitted by James Spellman, MD

Hyperthermic Intraoperative Peritoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a method of treating cancer by delivering heated chemotherapy directly into the abdomen. This type of cancer treatment has been very successful in removing cancers of the stomach, appendix, colon, and ovaries.

HIPEC is suitable for patients with certain stage IV abdominal cancers. HIPEC can be an alternative treatment to traditional chemotherapy or radiation therapy. In some cases, HIPEC may be successful when other treatment options fail.

The Procedure

When undergoing a HIPEC procedure, first your surgeon removes any visible tumors from the abdomen. Then the HIPEC tool delivers the heated chemotherapy directly inside the abdomen to destroy any remaining cancer cells. The chemotherapy is circulated for up to two hours to reach all the areas where small tumors might still exist. The goal is to destroy cancer cells and prevent those cells from forming new tumors.

HIPEC is successful because it kills cancer cells that are too small to be seen by the surgeon. In some cases, the surgeon may also choose to remove lymph nodes if they could be a link to cancer spreading outside of the abdomen.

Henrietta Belcher Stack's Story: To hear from a patient who had HIPEC at Beebe, click here!

Side Effects

Most patients experience fewer side effects with HIPEC than intravenous chemotherapy. This is because the high concentrations of chemotherapy solution are unable to cross what is known as the peritoneal plasma barrier.

The majority of side effects are related to the debulking or surgical removal of tumors in the abdomen.

Pairing surgery and HIPEC may be more successful than chemotherapy alone. While length of stay varies per patient, those who have HIPEC may stay in the hospital for up to 10 days.

Do Your Research

HIPEC surgeons are specially trained to deliver this specialized cancer treatment. There are few surgeons on the Delmarva Peninsula who are trained in HIPEC. When choosing a HIPEC Center, do your research and talk to your current physicians about whether you would be a good candidate for HIPEC.

The HIPEC surgeon will make the final decision to determine if you are an appropriate candidate.

Beebe Healthcare’s Surgical Oncology Department offers Cytoreductive Surgery (CS) and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC).

HIPEC is generally covered by insurance, however it is important to understand your coverage. Each case is evaluated individually to determine coverage.

For more information about HIPEC at Beebe Healthcare, go to https://www.beebehealthcare.org/forms/beebe-healthcare-hipec-center.

Dr James SpellmanJames Spellman, MD, is a Fellowship-trained surgical oncologist. He is Board Certified in General Surgery. He is an accomplished surgeon, researcher and author of professional articles in medical journals and books. He is the Delaware State Chair of the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) Cancer Liaison Program and a Fellow of The American College of Surgeons and of The Society of Surgical Oncology. He also is a member of the Executive Board of Directors, Delaware Cancer Consortium. Prior to coming to Delaware, Dr. Spellman was a member of the Department of Surgical Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute under the direction of Nicholas Petrelli, MD.  Dr. Spellman earned his medical degree at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He completed his residency at Stamford Hospital and his fellowship at the Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago. For more information on HIPEC, go to www.beebehealthcare.org/forms/beebe-healthcare-hipec-center. For more information on Beebe Healthcare, go to www.beebehealthcare.org.
 

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