Patients fight cancers with heated chemotherapy - FOX 35 News Orlando

Patients fight cancers with heated chemotherapy

Posted: Updated:

Cancers in the abdominal cavity can be difficult to treat. But, a new form of heated chemotherapy may help patients like Venus Lopez.

The single mother of three will never forget the moment she heard those words. She says, “When they told me ‘You have cancer.’ I was, like, Oh, my God! Why me?” Lopez’s battle was just beginning. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. Then, four years later, a doctor found melanoma in that same breast.

Then, ovarian cancer. Lopez says, “I said, you know what? I have my kids! I am going to fight this!”

She’d have to find the strength to fight one more cancer, in her appendix. That December, Lopez gave her doctor an ultimatum.

She wanted to be home for Christmas with her children. She made it home Christmas Eve.

Oncologist Dr. Rajesh Nair says Lopez has done very well on a new treatment called HIPEC. He says, “That’s an acronym for “Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy.” Right now, HIPEC is being used for cancers contained within the abdominal cavity. The chemo is delivered during surgery.

First, the surgeon removed the cancer that is visible. Then, a sterile solution is heated and circulated through the patient’s body for up to two hours.

This helps to kill off remaining cancer cells than cannot be seen.

Dr. Nair says, “The main benefit of HIPEC is it allows us to attack the cancer in a slightly different way. Traditional chemotherapy is delivered through the veins.

But that’s also one of the problems: its toxicity to the rest of the body.”

Traditional chemo can cause nausea, vomiting and hair loss. HIPEC doesn’t. Nair says, HIPEC is “delivered directly into that (abdominal) space, so the penetration of the drug into the bloodstream is limited.”

There are side effects to HIPEC. At first Lopez lost her appetite. Then, she lost a lot of weight. She says, “I remember the doctor saying, ‘You’re going to get better. Just be patient. You’re going to get better.’ And, I got better. He was right."

Dr. Nair says, “In patients who have difficult situations, such as this, to be able to offer them something, to give them more hope, to prolong their live, and at a good quality of life, that is something very important to all of us.”

Patients who undergo HIPEC typically stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks after their procedure. Right now, HIPEC is primarily used to treat adult cancer patients. If you think you might be a good candidate, talk to your oncologist about HIPEC and which surgeons might be offering the treatment in your area.

  • More Health NewsMore>>

  • Is the discharge of two American Ebola patients safe? Doctor says yes

    Is the discharge of two American Ebola patients safe? Doctor says yes

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:13 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:13:10 GMT
    Dr. Kent Brantly walked into Thursday's press conference showing no signs of his almost month-long battle with the deadly Ebola virus.
    Dr. Kent Brantly walked into Thursday's press conference showing no signs of his almost month-long battle with the deadly Ebola virus.
  • Cancer survivor celebrates 5 year mark with donor

    Cancer survivor celebrates 5 year mark with donor

    Monday, August 18 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-08-18 22:08:02 GMT
    If Erin Blonshine ever wondered if her perfect match was out there, now she knows. His name: Johannes Saur. Blonshine, a 29-year-old teacher, says "It's very surreal to stand next to him and know that on the inside our immune systems match."
    If Erin Blonshine ever wondered if her perfect match was out there, now she knows. His name: Johannes Saur. Blonshine, a 29-year-old teacher, says "It's very surreal to stand next to him and know that on the inside our immune systems match."
  • Report: CDC scientist kept quiet about flu blunder

    Report: CDC scientist kept quiet about flu blunder

    An investigation into a potentially dangerous blunder at a government lab found that a scientist kept silent about the accident and revealed it only after other employees noticed something fishy.
    An investigation into a potentially dangerous blunder at a government lab found that a scientist kept silent about the accident and revealed it only after other employees noticed something fishy.
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices