Maybe you or someone you know has stage 4 abdominal cancer and have been told by a doctor you have months to live.
Well now, right here in Phoenix, there's a medical breakthrough treatment that can extend your life by years and in some cases, cure your disease.
The procedure is called HIPEC.
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Surgeons take a high dose of a solution, heated to 103 degrees, that has a chemotherapeutic agent in it.
Your abdominal cavity is then filled with it.
For about an hour and a half, surgeons shake it around, then remove it from your body.
The idea behind the procedure is to kill any remaining cancer cells.
"If you take a patient that has stage 4 colorectal cancer, like what this is aimed for, limited to the abdominal cavity, median survival is measured at about 6 to 8 months," said Dr. Ron Chamberlain, a world-renowned surgeon who performs operations at Abrazo Central Campus. "With this therapy, median survival has been pushed up to 21 to 36 months for the average patient.
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"If they're able to get completely cytoreduced and get the therapy and about 16 to 20 percent of patients can be cured. This is a therapy that offers hope to a patient that didn't have hope."
Before the HIPEC procedure can be done, Dr. Chamberlain first removes all visible tumors throughout the abdomen, known as cytoreductive surgery.
The surgeries can take anywhere from 8 to 20 hours.
This therapy is aimed at patients with appendix cancer, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.
Abrazo Central Campus in Phoenix is now one of 25 cancer centers in the nation performing the HIPEC procedure.
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"This is an opportunity to offer hope to patients with advanced-stage malignancies and have disease limited to the inside of the abdominal cavity," said Dr. Chamberlain. "One of the exclusions is for anybody that has disease outside of the abdominal cavity."
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