FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --A valley woman is now recovering from a new cancer treatment which had never been performed here before.
Last week 48 year old Augustina Meza-Alfonso of Visalia underwent Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy(HIPEC) at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno.
Augustina told us, "Now I cry because I feel happy."
She described it as a priceless feeling. "The biggest difference was before my stomach was big and felt full. Now just pain."
Doctors removed a 12 inch tumor which had grown from her appendix.
Augustina was the first patient at CRMC to undergo a procedure which removes tumors from a patient's abdominal cavity.
Dr. Bobby Eghbalieh explained, "For about a 90 minute cycle the chemotherapy continues to cycle in and out of the body through the abdominal cavity as we essentially wash if you will the entire abdominal cavity with this very heated chemotherapy."
The highly concentrated chemo was heated to 108 degrees. Dr. Bobby Eghbalieh and Dr. Amir Fathi performed the procedure at CRMC.
HIPEC is only available for stage four cancer patients.
Dr. Fathi said, "These are patients that basically all of the other options are exhausted. They are on maintenance chemotherapy and without treatment their survival is going to be less than a year."
Fresno has now joined Irvine and San Diego in offering the procedure in California.
Through a translator Augustina offered her heart-felt thanks to, "Dios. God. Doctor. The doctors. My attitude. Her attitude."
Meza-Alfonso was now ready to be discharged.
CRMC hoped to establish a Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy program which attracts patients from around the globe.