Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is the first in South Florida to deliver hot chemo to cancers that have spread through the abdominal cavity.
The one-time treatment is done in the operating room at UM Hospital, right after the cancer is removed.
A chemo solution, heated to 106 degrees, is circulated through the abdomen for 90 minutes. The treatment is called HIPEC, which stands for hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemoperfusion.
“It's touching every single corner of the abdomen - over the lining of the bowels every corner- so that's why we have to be moving the patients in different positions over those 90 minutes. It's a continuous rotation of the position of the patient “ explains lead HIPEC oncologist Dr. Mecker Moller.
Heating the chemo increases penetration into the layers of the cells.
A higher concentration of chemo can be given this way without side effects.
South Florida’s first HIPEC treatment was done in January. The grateful patient is Georgina Pereira, who says she is feeling great four months later.
Tammy Rosamilia had HIPEC last month after her third recurrence of colon cancer.
“I am very grateful to all of them for helping me and doing this type of treatment and hopefully it will be the last time I'll have to deal with this cancer,” she said.
HIPEC at UM is only being used for patients with cancer that has spread to the abdominal cavity from the lining of the inside wall of the abdomen, the colon and the appendix.
“What the procedure does is increase your disease free survival and it has been proven that it's better than giving the IV chemotherapy” Moller said.