Breakthrough Cancer Treatment

November 9th, 2016

Another regional first in surgical advances

Specialists with SIH Medical Group have completed not one, but two, cutting edge procedures for advanced abdominal cancers. Dr. Suven Shankar, surgical oncologist, led the team effort to introduce cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale in late September.

HIPEC is the acronym for hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, a highly concentrated, heated chemotherapy treatment delivered directly to the abdomen during surgery.

“HIPEC is a treatment option for people who have advanced spread of cancer within the abdomen, without disease involvement outside of the abdomen,” said Dr. Shankar.

How it Works

HIPEC involves distributing liquid chemotherapy – heated to 42 degrees Celsius – into the abdominal cavity for 90 minutes following cytoreductive surgery (tumor removal.) The benefit? Heated chemotherapy destroys the microscopic cancer cells that remain after surgery; cancer cells invisible to the naked eye.

Here’s a short video clip with Dr. Shankar and Dr. Satyadeep Bhattacharya just prior to performing the second HIPEC procedure at MHC last Thursday, involving a patient with advanced colon cancer. Dr. Bhattacharya discovered the patient’s cancer had spread to the inner abdominal lining during the initial surgery.

The first procedure in September involved a patient with a benign tumor of the appendix with mucus and producing cells (disseminated peritoneal adenomucinosis mucous or “jelly belly” in lay terms) that had spread over the lower abdomen and mid-abdomen.

Team Training

Drs. Shankar, Bhattacharya and an OR team from MHC traveled to Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore for advanced training. Dr. Shankar completed his fellowship at Mercy, where he performed upwards of 50 HIPEC procedures in recent years.

“We certainly needed education for the entire OR crew, including the ICU and PCU nursing staff and anybody that would come into contact with this entire process. A lot of training and education went into this; it was an undertaking for the entire staff for a few months.”

“It’s exciting; because this is not commonly performed in leading cancer programs across the county yet; BJC in St. Louis is just now assembling their team.”