Rhode Island Hospital is the first hospital in the state to offer an innovative abdominal cancer treatment called intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemoperfusion, or HIPEC. The treatment offers new hope for increased survival with a better quality of life in patients with advanced stage cancer of the abdomen.
HIPEC is performed by surgical oncologist Thomas Miner, MD, at Rhode Island Hospital. It involves a combination of heat and chemotherapy administered during surgery. "After surgically removing the tumor mass, chemotherapy is heated and circulated throughout the abdominal cavity using a perfusion machine," explains Miner. "This allows a higher than normal dose of chemotherapy to be applied directly to the region of the tumor, providing a more intense treatment and giving a better outcome."
The new HIPEC treatment combined with surgical removal of the tumor is an innovative treatment for advanced stage patients with abdominal cancers such as ovarian and gastrointestinal. Miner says, "Typically this can be a very difficult time for patients with advanced cancer, with a very poor quality of life. What we are offering these individuals is not only increased survival but perhaps more importantly, a better quality of life."
The HIPEC procedure is best suited to the abdomen because of its physical structure as well as a physiologic barrier called the "peritoneal-plasma barrier" that prevents high concentrations of chemotherapy solution from reaching the bloodstream. Because the rest of the body's exposure to chemotherapy is minimal, side effects occur less often than with traditional treatment. Patients with advanced cancers of the abdomen can benefit greatly from this innovative procedure.