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Some cancer patients find hope in HIPEC

Cancer patients find hope in HIPEC at Edward Cancer Center

Some of us grumble about making the effort to get to the gym. Then there are those who are delighted to be healthy enough to work out at all. That's the case for 42-year-old Kimberley Sandford of Naperville who is back to chalking up miles on the treadmill after several years of dealing with a serious health threat.

Soon after giving birth to her now 4-year-old son, Sandford began experiencing stomach aches and uncomfortable bloating.

"My doctor thought irritable bowel syndrome or acid reflux might be to blame, but treatment for those ailments didn't help," says Sandford.

By fall of 2011, the burning stomach pain had become more severe. An ultrasound revealed a rare type of tumor the size of a softball on her right ovary. Following surgery to remove the tumor, the pathology study indicated it was a metastatic tumor from an unknown primary origin.

Time to call HIPEC expert

Sandford then went to the Edward Cancer Center where she met with medical oncologist Samir Undevia, MD of the Edward Hematology Oncology Group. Dr. Undevia recommended she undergo an innovative cancer treatment, Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC), as soon as possible. He referred her to George Salti, MD, FACS, one of the nation's most experienced surgical oncologists performing HIPEC. In our area, only a few hospitals offer this aggressive treatment and only about four surgeons perform it. Only 1,300-1,500 of the procedures are performed annually in the U.S.

At the time, Dr. Salti was on the medical staff of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital where he performed Sandford's five-hour surgery in July 2012. He now does surgeries with HIPEC at Edward, where he took the position of Co-Medical Director of the Edward Cancer Center and Medical Director of the Edward Hospital Surgical Oncology Program in mid-April 2013.

With HIPEC, following surgical removal of tumors, the abdominal cavity is bathed with a heated chemotherapy solution for 90 minutes to attack any remaining cancer cells. According to Dr. Salti, HIPEC is most commonly used for cancers of the appendix and colon, but also is used in some cases of ovarian, stomach and peritoneal cancers.

In Sandford's case, surgery included a complete hysterectomy and removal of her appendix and gall bladder. Pathology staff identified a small amount of cancer on the appendix.

Sandford says the recovery takes months, but she's feeling better every day. And the distention in her abdomen is all but gone.

"If someone told me their doctor recommended HIPEC, I would tell them to trust in the procedure," she says. "It's scary and invasive, but with Dr. Salti, you're in good hands."

What it takes to be a HIPEC candidate

Dr. Salti says there are three requirements for a patient to be a candidate for HIPEC:

1. They must be in good enough health to withstand the rather long procedure.

2. Their cancer must be confined to the abdominal cavity.

3. All their tumors must be surgically removable.

"HIPEC may provide relief of symptoms, and it has improved the survival rate for some cancers," says Dr. Salti. "It doubles the survival rate for certain colon cancer patients, compared to use of the latest standard chemotherapy. And for patients with malignant growths known as pseudomyxoma peritonei, HIPEC can add up to 20 years to their life expectancy."

For more information and to schedule a patient consultation with Dr. Salti, call (630) 527-3788 or visit www.edward.org/cancersurgery.


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Edward Hospital & Health Services
801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540 • (630) 527-3000

Naperville • Plainfield • Bolingbrook • Oswego • Woodridge
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