HIPEC (hyperthermic intraoperative chemotherapy)

Many cancers spread to the inner lining of the abdomen called the peritoneum. These include cancers originating from the appendix, colon, ovary, stomach as well as the peritoneum itself (mesothelioma). Sometimes the cancer does not go anywhere else but can cause severe pain, fluid (ascites) and bowel obstruction. Cancers involving the peritoneum are associated with considerable morbidity and decreased survival. Patients rarely survive more than 1-2 years with intravenous chemotherapy alone. As a result these patients are particularly challenging to manage.

Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) procedure diagram

Hyperthermic Intraoperative Chemotherapy (HIPEC) Program

HIPEC (hyperthermic intraoperative chemotherapy) offers patients the opportunity for prolonged survival, an improvement in symptoms and even cure. It involves surgical removal of all visible tumor followed by the delivery of chemotherapy into the peritoneum. Because the chemotherapy is heated and delivered for 1-2 hours in the operating room tumor cells can be destroyed that are not easily visible.

This surgery requires specialist cancer surgeons working in close collaboration with medical oncologists. It also should only be done at cancer centers with special expertise. The team at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute Saint Johns Health Center has some of the most experienced surgical oncologists in California and offers this procedure to suitable patients.

Cancer Support

In addition to the expert medical care available from our team of cancer physicians, we offer a host of integrative and wellness services that aim to address the physical, emotional, social, mental, and spiritual needs of patients and their loved ones throughout the cancer journey.