Since 2011 the Goshen Center for Cancer Care has offered an exclusive cancer treatment, it’s only available in less than 200 places across the United States.
“Right now, we’re the only established program in Indiana doing [HIPEC],” says Dr. Len Henry, medical director and surgical oncologist at Goshen Center for Cancer Care.
Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy, or HIPEC delivers a high concentration of cancer fighting drugs to the abdomen during surgery.
“So a lot of the IV chemotherapy that’s given sometimes doesn’t reach high concentration inside the abdominal cavity, because there’s barriers for that, so certain tumors that grow on the surface along the lining of the abdominal cavity, we deliver chemotherapy directly to them. So, we can deliver it in much higher concentrations,” says Dr. Henry.
Cancers HIPEC can be used for include appendiceal, mesothelioma, ovarian, and colorectal. However, not everyone is a candidate for HIPEC.
“Depends on the biology of the tumor, how much tumor, and the physiological state of the patient,” explains Dr. Henry.
But because the chemotherapy is direct, the toxicity to the blood stream is low, making it a safer delivery of chemotherapy to a patient.
“We see very few side effects of the chemotherapy administration. So the same reason the chemotherapy doesn’t reach the abdominal lining is the same reason why the chemotherapy we give in the abdominal lining doesn’t really reach the rest of the body very much, either,” says Dr. Henry.
Dr. Henry says he rarely sees patients lose hair, and they prefer HIPEC so they don’t have to receive multiple chemotherapy treatments, giving them time.