When facing a daunting cancer diagnosis, robotic hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) provides hope. Being diagnosed with cancer of the lining of the abdominal cavity, or peritoneal carcinomatosis, was considered incurable just two decades ago. Advances in cancer care, particularly in the treatment of advanced colorectal and ovarian cancers, has significantly increased survivability for patients.
“Traditionally all peritoneal carcinomatosis cases were considered terminal until about the 1990s. Its prognosis was dismal. People with peritoneal carcinomatosis would expect to survive maybe 8-12 months,” said Dr. Rohit Sharma, a surgical oncologist with Marshfield Clinic Health System who performs the HIPEC procedure.
The procedure typically begins by surgically removing any visible tumors in the patient’s abdomen. The surgeon then puts heated chemotherapy into the body cavity to kill any remaining cancer cells. Research has shown that both heat and chemotherapy kill cancer cells individually.
Robotic HIPEC merges the precision of robotic-assisted surgery with the localized delivery of heated chemotherapy to the peritoneal cavity. “The robotic platform enables unparalleled precision in accessing hard-to-reach areas while minimizing invasiveness, leading to reduced blood loss, faster recovery and enhanced outcomes for patients,” Sharma said.
Recovery from HIPEC surgery
The collaborative efforts of experts at Marshfield Clinic underscore the power of teamwork in tailoring individualized treatments. These teams offer renewed optimism for patients battling complex cancers. “Our strides in Robotic HIPEC reflect a promising future where innovation and comprehensive care converge to redefine possibilities in cancer treatment,” Dr. Sharma said.
The chemotherapy utilized in the HIPEC procedure offers limited side effects compared to traditional chemotherapy, despite employing more effective higher doses. However, due to the extensive surgery involved in the HIPEC procedure, a prolonged recovery is anticipated.
Robotic HIPEC procedure allows tailored treatment plans
The HIPEC procedure is one of many cancer treatment options available from Marshfield Clinic Health System for cancer patients.
Surgeons also use HIPEC as a preventive measure in certain patients at high risk of peritoneal carcinomatosis. This may reduce the chance that cancer forms in the future.
“HIPEC decreases the likelihood of our patients having the recurrence of disease in their abdomen,” said Dr. Jessica Wernberg, a surgical oncologist with Marshfield Clinic Health System who also performs this specialized procedure.
“A team of experts from various disciplines—oncology, surgery, radiology, pathology, and more—collaborate closely to tailor individualized treatment plans for each patient,” Sharma said. “This holistic approach ensures comprehensive care, integrating the latest advancements and personalized therapies to optimize outcomes for patients facing complex cancers like colorectal and ovarian.”
Patient selection is important. The multidisciplinary team meticulously assesses each patient’s medical history, disease stage and overall health to determine candidacy for Robotic HIPEC. “Marshfield Clinic’s commitment to personalized medicine ensures that patients receive the most appropriate and effective treatment tailored to their unique circumstances,” Dr. Sharma said.
See a surgical oncologist to determine if this procedure is right for you. For more information about the HIPEC procedure and others available, contact a Health System cancer care team member at 866-520-2510.