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Published on Sep 13, 2011
Sue Vincent had been healthy most of her life. When she started gaining weight at an unexplained rate, she made a doctor's appointment. That appointment brought bad news: a diagnosis of cancer. That diagnosis lead her to Dr. Jason Foster, a surgical oncologist at The Nebraska Medical Center, and one of few surgeons nationally who perform hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, or HIPEC. The treatment is also sometimes called "hot chemo." Sue's weight gain was caused by an appendix neoplasm, a huge tumor growing in her abdomen. The first phase of the treatment was surgery to remove the tumor and all visible signs of cancer. For Dr. Foster and his surgical team, this meant a surgery that lasted more than 14 hours and resulted in the removal of Sue's spleen, gallbladder, omentum ovaries, uterus, and portions of her colon, liver and pancreas. The second phase of the surgery, performed the following day, was HIPEC. During this procedure, Dr. Foster and his team used catheters and a circulation pump to fill Sue's abdominal cavity with a heated chemotherapy solution. The heat and chemotherapy drug kill the microscopic cancer cells that are almost certainly left behind by the massive tumor. These tiny cells tend to re-implant themselves and create another tumor. In the HIPEC approach, the heated liquid kills and washes away the cancerous cells, greatly improving a patient's odds of living many more years without a recurrence of cancer. Sue has recovered from her two-day surgery and is back at work and feeling great. Dr. Foster says her odds of living another ten or more years at 75-80% HIPEC is approved for treatment of appendix, ovarian and colon cancers, as well as some types of mesothelioma. For more information about HIPEC treatment at The Nebraska Medical Center, call 1-800-922-0000 or visit http://www.nebraskamed.com/cancer