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Evolving Treatments

HIPEC (Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy)


What is HIPEC?

HIPEC is a form of intra-abdominal heated chemotherapy treatment, which is combined with surgery.  It is used as a treatment for some of the most difficult cancers affecting the tummy and pelvis.  In these cases, the cancer is difficult to treat because it has spread to involve the surfaces and lining of the abdomen, known as the “peritoneum”. Before treatment was available, all that could be offered to patients and their families was symptom control, and sadly many patients would only live for a few months.  More recently, it is becoming increasingly apparent that only one treatment offers a chance of a better outcome, and this involves surgery combined with “HIPEC”.  Typically, during this treatment, surgeons will remove all the cancer lumps and nodules where the tumour has spread, and then during the same operation, they will bathe the cancer affected areas in heated chemotherapy to kill any leftover cancer cells.  When combined with the surgery, this treatment pathway, while quite demanding, offers the only hope to patients with this type of abdominal cancer spread.



What types of tumours is it used for?

This treatment is mostly used in bowel and ovarian cancers, where the cancer has spread to the lining of the abdomen and pelvis. Research, led by Surgeons in Southampton, suggests that this treatment may more than double the odds of survival for affected patients in some situations. It has also been used in carefully selected patients with more uncommon cancers such as neuroendocrine cancers, and in both adults and children.

How is it given?

Giving the treatment involves offering the advanced surgery by experienced surgeons, and then to treat the abdomen and pelvis with heated chemotherapy.  The chemotherapy is heated, delivered, and circulated, into the body cavity, for typically up to an hour.  To do this, a purpose-built machine is needed and used in a carefully controlled and safe manner with close patient monitoring. The device that we are fundraising for is the Performer HT device from RAND technologies, shown below. This has been extensively used at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, as well as 46 other countries, with over 20 years of experience accumulated with the device, and offers the best safety, simplicity, and economy of use.

What is our aim?

At present this treatment is not routinely available. While PLANETS hospitals already offer outstanding cancer care, we hope to improve this further, for these very challenging situations, and aim to raise the funds needed to purchase the essential equipment to be able to give this treatment. The equipment needed to be able to offer this treatment is the machine that delivers and circulates the heated chemotherapy drugs, shown above. We then also hope to conduct some of the vital research needed to help optimise and improve this treatment for our patients even more.

More Information

The information on these web pages is provided in very broad and simple terms mainly and is not a comprehensive compendium. The medical team involved in your or your friend or family members care will be able to fill in any extra information you require.  More information may also be found on the Cancer Research UK; Macmillan Cancer Support, and the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland Websites.

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