Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Treatment

Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) Treatment attacks abdominal cancers that remain after surgery. Patients can receive it as a palliative measure to help control disease and prevent fluid collection. HIPEC can also be used preventatively.

What is Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Treatment?

Complex and advanced abdominal cancers are difficult for physicians to treat because cancer cells are woven through the thin membranes of the peritoneum that wraps around the abdomen and internal organs. These microscopic cancer cells are often left behind during surgical procedures that remove abdominal tumors. HIPEC uses high doses of chemotherapy to penetrate and destroy the cancer cells that remain in the abdomen after surgery. High doses of chemotherapy enable physicians to concentrate the solution locally within the abdomen, minimizing side effects and improving the absorption.

What types of cancer does HIPEC treat?

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Pseudomyxoma peritonei
  • Appendiceal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Low-grade sarcoma
  • Peritoneal inclusion cysts

How does HIPEC work?

Before HIPEC treatment is administered, surgeons perform cytoreductive surgery to remove as many visible tumors as possible within the abdomen. Then, the heated, sterilized chemotherapy solution is delivered directly to the abdomen through catheters placed in the abdomen. The catheters are connected to a perfusion machine which warms the solution and administers the chemotherapy in one or two doses over a prescribed time period of up to 120 minutes. When complete, the abdomen is rinsed with saline solution and the catheters are removed. Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC treatment together can take six to 12 hours to perform.

What follow-up care is needed?

After your treatment, you will be seen by one of our nurse practitioners and the surgeon. Patients are then seen by our nurse practitioners during additional follow-up visits, including surveillance visits when patients are monitored for any recurrence of cancer. Our nurse practitioners have master's degrees with advanced clinical training beyond their initial registered nurse preparation. They work very closely with our physicians to ensure excellent care is provided. We are committed to supporting cancer survivorship patients with information or referrals on nutrition, physical activity, follow-up visits and support services.

How Can You Access HIPEC?

HIPEC is performed by the surgical oncologists with Sentara Surgery Specialists.