Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare and fatal cancer affecting the lining of the abdomen and internal organs. It is a unique form of cancer in many ways; mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, and the disease can lay dormant in the body for decades before patients experience symptoms. It is also notoriously resistant to many common cancer treatments, forcing physicians to get creative in their approach to treating the disease. Fortunately, novel techniques, such as hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), have shown success in combating mesothelioma.
HIPEC is administered during cytoreductive surgery, a procedure to remove any visible mesothelioma tumors from the peritoneum. While the abdominal cavity is open, the area is washed with a chemotherapy solution, which remains in the body for one to two hours to kill any remaining cancerous cells. The drugs pass through a heating element to raise the temperature to 106 degrees, hot enough to kill mesothelioma cells but not hot enough to kill healthy cells.
HIPEC Safer than Regular Chemotherapy
There are several advantages to HIPEC when compared to other forms of chemotherapy, which is usually delivered through an artery or vein and circulated by the blood throughout the body. By delivering chemotherapy directly into the infected area, HIPEC minimizes the rest of the body’s exposure to the drugs. This alleviates the side effects that typically come with a chemotherapy regimen, which can be debilitating. Higher doses of the drugs can be used without fear of adverse effects, and the higher temperature allows the mesothelial cells to absorb more of the cancer-fighting medication.
Cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC is an extensive procedure, lasting eight to 14 hours and keeps patients in the hospital for 10 to 12 days. It carries risks and patients can experience bleeding, infection, or in rare cases, blood clots that form in the legs and travel to other parts of the body. Patients may also experience fatigue for a few months afterward.
Since the procedure became widely used for peritoneal mesothelioma patients, however, survival rates have increased. Many patients live for several years after the treatment, which is longer than the typical survival rate for mesothelioma. Though HIPEC was originally designed for the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma, it has also been used for pleural mesothelioma, and it has the potential to be used for other forms of cancer. With few treatment options available for mesothelioma patients, the success of HIPEC could be the ray of hope that they have been waiting for.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Victims of Asbestos Exposure
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, call the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law. We will pursue an aggressive legal strategy to hold those responsible and obtain the compensation you are entitled. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we help clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 877-743-4652 or contact us online for an initial consultation.