Advanced abdominal cancers are difficult to treat, but a new technology is available from Sentara Cancer Network that can destroy cancer cells left behind after surgery.

HIPEC: A treatment option for advanced abdominal cancers


HIPEC (Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Treatment) uses high doses of heated chemotherapy to penetrate and destroy the cancer cells that remain in the abdomen after surgery.  HIPEC has been used as a palliative measure to control disease, but the technology is now used as a preventive treatment.

HIPEC surgery  can be used for patients with cancers that either start or spread to the abdomen, including appendiceal, colorectal, lung and ovarian cancers.

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.

How does it 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 6-12 hours to perform. The only HIPEC-trained physicians in Hampton Roads, Va., are members of the Sentara Cancer Network, and offer HIPEC at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Sentara CarePlex Hospital.   

For more information, call 1-844-252-0490 for a consultation.