HIPEC for ovarian cancer

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Doctors have used HIPEC, or heated chemotherapy, for years to treat certain abdominal cancers. (KFSN)

Doctors have used HIPEC, or heated chemotherapy, for years to treat certain abdominal cancers. Now researchers are testing HIPEC on women with advanced ovarian cancer, who otherwise would have very few options.

Sixty-five-year-old Barbara Franklin loves new beginnings. Ten years ago, Franklin beat breast cancer. Now she's battling advanced ovarian cancer.

Franklin told Ivanhoe, "I was stage four and what symptoms did I have? A little change in bowel movement and a little bloating."

Now researchers are studying a treatment called HIPEC to see if it stops the progression of ovarian cancer. It stands for hyperthermic intra peritoneal chemotherapy. Doctors remove the tumor, followed by the HIPEC-heated treatment delivered directly to the abdomen.

Armando Sardi, M.D., Chief of Surgical Oncology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland explained, "Heat kills cancer cells and is often as effective as chemotherapy."

During the process, a patient's abdomen is also carefully manipulated.

"They called it the shake and bake; your body was rolled around so that the chemo went into every nook and cranny so that your chances of reaching those cancerous cells were the best," Franklin described.

Researchers hope the trial will show that surgery, followed by HIPEC and additional intravenous chemo greatly improves a woman's odds.

"We've found that these treatments have been very effective in many patients who have been told to go home and die after they recur with ovarian cancer," Dr. Sardi told Ivanhoe.

Franklin hopes her treatment gives her many more seasons to savor. While the temperature of the HIPEC solution may vary slightly, doctors say it averages about 107 degrees. Dr. Sardi said this treatment may also be effective for women with fallopian tube cancers as well as peritoneal cancer.

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