Mette Møller and Vic Verwaal are both consultants at Aarhus University Hospital and experts in hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy. This week they go to India to teach colleagues in this special kind of treatment (photo: Michael Harder, Aarhus University Hospital).
This week, two doctors from Aarhus University Hospital (AUH) go to India to teach colleagues how to treat selected types of cancer with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). In collaboration with the European and Indian society for cancer surgeons (ESSO, European Society for Surgical Oncology and ISPSM, Indian Society for Peritoneal Surface Malignancies), they are going to teach at All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Dehli, which is one of the major university hospitals in India.
The treatment consists of a special form of chemotherapy where the patient's stomach is flushed with hyperthermic chemotherapy fluids. The results are good and patients have fewer side effects. AUH treats patients referred from all over Denmark and during the last couple of years the number of surgeries has increased from 35 to 100 in one year.
- We are very competent in this type of treatment and our colleagues around the world have noticed this. We are very happy to be able to teach colleagues to make even more patients benefit from our expertise, say Vic Verwaal and Mette Møller, Consultants at Department of Surgery, who are both going to India.
Facts on the treatment
The treatment is called HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy). At first, the surgeon removes all visible cancer tissue in the abdominal cavity. Then the abdominal cavity is flushed for 1.5 hours with chemotherapy fluid at a temperature of 41-42 degrees Celsius to eradicate any microscopic cancer tumours and free cancer cells. The idea behind the treatment is to concentrate the effect of the chemotherapy in the abdomen and exploit the heat of the chemotherapy fluid which makes it more powerful to fight the cancer cells.
The patients are seriously ill. Previously, only few patients would be alive after five years but with this treatment, around half of the patients are alive five years after the diagnosis.
The HIPEC treatment is primarily used in colorectal cancer which has spread to the abdominal cavity and to a few other types of cancer (peritoneal cancer, appendix cancer, ovarian cancer and pseudomyxoma peritonei, which is a rare type of cancer in the abdominal cavity).