DETROIT — A unique treatment involving the use of hot chemotherapy is being offered at St. John Hospital and Medical Center. SJH&MC is the first hospital in Southeast Michigan and one of only approximately 20 centers nationwide to offer the treatment.

Know as Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy, or HIPEC, the procedure has applications for a number of advanced cancers that have spread to the lining of the abdominal cavity, including colorectal, gastric, ovarian, appendiceal, and mesothelioma. For these patients, chemotherapy through a vein can only give them an additional few months to live.

The treatment involves surgically removing cancerous tumors from the abdominal cavity, then bathing the cavity with hot chemotherapy. The surgeon continuously circulates a heated, sterile chemotherapy solution throughout the abdominal cavity for up to two hours, killing remaining cancer cells without damaging normal cells in the body. The solution is then removed and the incision is closed.

Delivering the heated chemotherapy throughout the abdominal cavity distributes the drug thoroughly and allows it to directly penetrate the areas of cancer and reach areas where cancer cells aren’t easily visible. Because the chemotherapy is delivered directly to the tumor, many of the side effects associated with intravenous administration of these powerful drugs can be avoided.

“This procedure has been proven to extend the lives of patients and improve their quality of life,” said Richard Berri, M.D., director of surgical oncology at St. John Hospital and one of only surgeons in the world trained to perform the operation. “For many patients with advanced cancers that have spread to the abdominal cavity this is their only viable treatment option. Unlike other cancer treatments that only treat the symptoms of abdominal cancers; HIPEC can actually stop the growth of abdominal cancers.”

The St. John Hospital and Medical Center surgical oncology program, led by  Berri, provides the most comprehensive and current surgical evaluation and treatment to patients with malignancies that can be treated surgically, including pancreas, liver, colorectal and stomach cancer. SJH&MC also offers the only Peritoneal Malignancies Program in Michigan to offer HIPEC.

More at www.stjohn.org,

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