HIPEC stands for Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy. It is a specialized procedure used in the treatment of certain types of cancer that have spread to the peritoneal cavity, such as peritoneal mesothelioma.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum). It is commonly associated with exposure to asbestos. Traditional treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy may be used, but since peritoneal mesothelioma is often challenging to treat, HIPEC has emerged as a treatment option.
The HIPEC procedure involves two main steps:
Cytoreductive Surgery (CRS):
This surgery aims to remove visible tumors from the abdomen. Surgeons strive to excise as much cancerous tissue as possible without damaging vital organs. The extent of the surgery depends on the spread and location of the cancer.
Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC):
Following CRS, heated chemotherapy drugs are directly circulated into the abdominal cavity. The heat applied during the procedure helps to enhance the effectiveness of the chemotherapy, as it can penetrate and target any remaining microscopic cancer cells that might be present after surgery. The chemotherapy is kept at an elevated temperature for a period of time to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
HIPEC treatment is considered for certain patients with peritoneal mesothelioma because it allows for concentrated delivery of chemotherapy directly to the affected area while minimizing the systemic side effects that are often associated with traditional intravenous chemotherapy.
However, it’s important to note that not all patients are candidates for HIPEC. Eligibility for this treatment depends on various factors including the stage of the cancer, the overall health of the patient, and whether the cancer has spread extensively beyond the abdomen.
As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks and side effects associated with HIPEC, which should be discussed thoroughly with a medical team specialized in treating peritoneal mesothelioma.
If you or someone you know is considering HIPEC for peritoneal mesothelioma, it is essential to consult with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals including surgeons, oncologists, and other specialists experienced in managing this specific type of cancer to determine the best course of treatment.