Patients in the UAE can now benefit from a single dose heated chemotherapy – Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) – which is used in advanced cases of abdominal cancer where tumours have spread to the lining of the abdominal cavity.
Rather than a series of intravenous infusions, HIPEC uses a single dose of chemotherapy drugs delivered directly to the abdomen. The drugs are delivered to the cavity following surgery to remove all visible tumours while the patient is still in the operating room. This method allows any remaining cancer cells to be destroyed, preventing them from becoming tumours.
“In some more advanced cases of abdominal cancer, patients may have hundreds of small tumours in their abdominal lining. While these can be removed with surgery, a strong, targeted dose of chemotherapy is needed to kill any cancer cells left behind. Not only are we able to deliver the drugs directly to the affected area, it only requires a single dose, minimising the side effects for patients,” says Dr Yasir Akmal, an oncologic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, the hospital offering the treatment.
Effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs
To improve the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drugs, they are heated to 42 degrees, enabling them to penetrate deeper into the tissue, destroying more cancer cells. During the infusion, the patient’s body is gently rocked to ensure the chemotherapy drugs reach the entirety of the abdominal cavity. To ensure the patient’s body remains at a safe temperature, they are placed on a cooling pad during the procedure.
Following the single treatment, patients are admitted to the hospital for around 10 days while they recover. Once recovered, they can return to their lives under the close supervision of their care team.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi recently performed its first HIPEC procedure, with doctors anticipating performing a dozen more in the coming year. The introduction of the treatment comes as the hospital continues to expand its range of cancer services in advance of the opening of its dedicated oncology centre.
“The introduction of this new therapy builds on our range of surgical and clinical treatments for patients in the UAE with advanced abdominal cancers. It underscores our commitment to continuing to expand the range of oncology treatments and support services we offer, ensuring that we continue to meet the most pressing needs of our community while eliminating the need to travel abroad,” explains Dr Stephen Grobmyer, Chair of the Oncology Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
“Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi continues to innovate in support of cancer patients, adding to our existing range of state of the art medical and surgical treatments for cancer. When complete, our dedicated oncology centre will provide a centralised hub for our complete range of cancer care, enabling patients to benefit from a seamless journey through every step of their recovery.”