What is hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC)?

Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is an innovative type of cancer treatment. During this procedure, doctors perform a surgery and apply chemotherapy directly to the area impacted by cancer, instead of giving it through an IV or as a pill. HIPEC isn’t widely performed yet, but it’s shown positive results for some cancers that have been hard to treat. To learn more, we spoke with stomach cancer surgeon Brian Badgwell, M.D. How does HIPEC work? Following a surgery to remove tumors and possibly the surrounding area, doctors pump heated chemotherapy into the patient’s abdominal cavity. Then, the surgeons ensure that the chemotherapy drugs are evenly distributed by shaking the patient back and forth on the operating table. As with traditional chemotherapy, the goal is to kill all the cancer cells and stop the tumors from growing. Next, the chemotherapy drugs are drained from the patient’s body. Finally, the abdomen is rinsed, and the doctors close the incision. What types of cancer can be treated with HIPEC? HIPEC is used to treat mesothelioma, ovarian, colorectal and appendix cancers. We’re now also starting to look at its effectiveness in treating stomach cancer. In fact, I recently conducted a study on treating stomach cancer using HIPEC. It showed promising results, with metastatic stomach cancer patients who received HIPEC living longer. What are the benefits of HIPEC? Because it’s done during surgery, heated chemotherapy can be applied directly to the area impacted by the cancer. This increases the chances that the cancer is really gone and less likely to come back, without the side effects from traditional chemotherapy, like a decrease in blood counts...

Papillary thyroid cancer survivor: Targeted therapy is giving me a future

I’ve been living with papillary thyroid cancer since 2012. If it weren’t for MD Anderson, I might not be able to say that. Because when I was first diagnosed, doctors near my home in Dallas suggested hospice. I was only 17 at the time and had just started treatment, so I wasn’t ready to give up. That’s why I went to MD Anderson. And not only has it given me the past eight years of my life back; it’s also given me a future. Choosing MD Anderson for my thyroid cancer treatment My initial appointment at MD Anderson was in April 2013. There, I met with endocrine specialist Dr. Anita Ying. The first thing she recommended was a radioactive iodine pill to kill any residual thyroid tissue I might have. Doctors in Dallas had surgically removed that gland as a part of my treatment there, but some stray cells could still have been left behind. After that, I took two targeted therapy drugs called lenvatinib and sorafenib. All of those treatments had at least some positive effect. But by the time I was diagnosed, the thyroid cancer had already spread to my lungs. Even with treatment, it never really went away. That’s why Dr. Ying recommended a Phase I/II clinical trial under Dr. Vivek Subbiah. He was testing a new targeted therapy drug called pralsetinib, which has shown very promising results in patients with thyroid and lung cancers. Why I joined a clinical trial I’ve always been kind of interested in medicine, so I understood what was being asked of me when I was told I qualified to join...