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Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy

UMass Memorial is one of only three hospitals in New England offering hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) and is considered a high-volume program.

HIPEC is an innovative method of delivering chemotherapy by directly putting it into the abdomen. Traditional chemotherapy is delivered intravenously. This procedure can be a good option for cancers that originate in or have spread to the abdominal cavity (peritoneum).

HIPEC Process

Our skilled surgical oncologists are nationally recognized for using this chemotherapy treatment. HIPEC is performed after the surgeon removes any visible tumors or lesions from the abdominal area. This surgery is called cytoreductive surgery or tumor debulking.

Once this is completed, chemotherapy is used to kill any microscopic tumor cells that could not be seen at the time of surgery. The goal of HIPEC is to directly put chemotherapy on cancer cells making it more effective. The process includes inserting tubes into the abdomen. Heated chemotherapy solution moves through the tubes into the abdomen in order to bathe the organs. The heat improves the effectiveness of the solution.

The success of HIPEC depends on many variables, including the site of origin, if it has spread to surrounding lymph nodes, if all visible tumors can be removed during surgery, and more. In selected cases, HIPEC can be done more than once which may give a meaningful survival advantage.

Disease Treated with HIPEC

Diseases that can be treated with HIPEC include:

  • Appendiceal cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Primary peritoneal cancer
  • Stomach cancer

This approach has improved the outcome for many peritoneal cancer patients. It has been shown to add years of life to patients. 

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