HIPEC Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does HIPEC stand for and what does it mean?
HIPEC stands for hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy. The term "intraperitoneal" means that the treatment is delivered to the abdominal cavity. The term "hyperthermic chemotherapy" simply means that the solution containing chemotherapy is heated to a temperature that is greater than normal body temperature.
Q: How does HIPEC work?
HIPEC uses a combination of heat and chemotherapy. The procedure is done by first removing all visible tumors. This is followed by an internal bath of heated chemotherapeutic solution to kill any remaining cancer cells. Before HIPEC is administered, the surgeon—using standard surgical methods—will remove all visible tumors that can be removed throughout the peritoneal cavity. This is known as cytoreductive surgery.
Q: How does HIPEC differ from traditional chemotherapy?
Some types of cancers are very difficult to treat, particularly the ones located in the abdominal cavity. HIPEC experts say the heat makes the chemotherapy more powerful at killing these cancer cells.
Q: What cancers does HIPEC treat?
HIPEC treats cancers in the abdominal (peritoneal) lining that stem from colon, gastric, ovarian and appendiceal cancers, as well as mesothelioma and pseudomyxoma peritonei.
Q: What are the benefits of HIPEC?
HIPEC experts say the treatment is more effective at killing cancer cells. In addition, the procedure also improves drug absorption with minimal exposure to the rest of the body. In this way, the normal side effects of chemotherapy can be avoided. Through HIPEC surgery, doctors are able to remove any cancerous tissues and treat them aggressively while minimizing the negative effects of high doses of intravenous chemotherapy. This aspect of HIPEC helps to extend the patient's life.
Q: Who is a candidate for HIPEC?
It is best to discuss with your doctor if this procedure is right for you. Doctors at Mount Sinai have been on the forefront of this groundbreaking procedure, offering it to patients for several years.
Mount Sinai Surgical Associates
Division of Surgical Oncology
5 East 98th Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10029