The treatment for peritoneal cancer will depend on a number of factors including the location of the cancer in the body, the stage of the cancer, and a person’s general health.
Cytoreductive surgery is an operation to remove all visible cancer in the abdominal cavity, including any visible peritoneal tumors or peritoneal spread of a gastrointestinal cancer.
Once the visible tumors are removed, the surgeon administers a chemotherapy solution, which is heated to the temperature equivalent to warm bath, into the abdominal cavity, where it is gently agitated for 90 minutes.
Heating the chemotherapy solution improves absorption by tumor cells that might remain in the belly. This treatment, called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, or HIPEC, has been shown to control symptoms and improve survival rates for selected patients whose tumors can be completely or nearly completely removed by surgery.
- HIPEC is essentially a chemotherapy “bath” that delivers heated chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity, where it penetrates the diseased tissue directly. This targeted contact of the heated drug kills the tumor nodules, which increases absorption of the chemotherapy solution. There is substantial clinical evidence that HIPEC is an effective treatment for patients with pseudomyxoma peritonei, mucinous adenocarcinoma of the appendix and peritoneal mesothelioma. Additionally, peritoneal metastases from colon cancer can be successfully treated in a significant number of patients.
- There is a possibility that you may require intravenous or oral chemotherapy before or after your surgery based on your specific tumor type. This will be determined by your treatment team.
- Additional therapies may also be utilized in the treatment of your specific tumor type. Targeted therapy may be used to treat some advanced primary peritoneal carcinoma. Sometimes a targeted therapy drug is combined with a chemotherapy drug. Hormonal therapy may be given in addition to chemotherapy to treat advanced primary peritoneal carcinoma. Lastly, radiation therapy is sometimes used to treat advanced primary or recurrent peritoneal carcinoma.
The goal of treatment is to control symptoms, prevent rapid progression of tumors, increase survival time, and, in some cases, even cure the cancer. The operation takes 6 to 9 hours, and the average hospital stay after the procedure is 7 to 14 days.