Girl Undergoes Heated Chemotherapy

(Published Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011)

A South Florida 8-year-old has new hope in her fight against recurring stomach cancer. That's after a team of Miami Children's Hospital doctors completed an 8-and-a-half-hour procedure on the rhabdomyosarcoma.

Doctors expect Kelly Cruz to go home the first week of November, in time for her ninth birthday on the 18th. What 8-year-old Cruz has been through is enough to overwhelm anyone, including her mother, Gioconda Vivas. "They told me she had cancer at just 4 years old," she said in Spanish. "And then at 7 she couldn't take anymore radiation." An aggressive stomach cancer left her with leas than 10 percent chance of survival. Then on Sept. 30, a team of doctors performed a new treatment called heated chemotherapy. "This really pinpoints the tumor ... Everything went perfectly, " said Cathy Burnwhite, the doctor who performed the surgery. Now doctors say that now, with the procedure, which is new to Florida, she has a reasonable chance of survival. Initially she had less than a 10 percent chance and now she has more than 50 percent. Vivas said she is full of hope, not only for Kelly, but for other children as well. To learn more about heated chemotherapy go to www.mch.com/hipec.