The Latest in Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is an approximately 7.6-meter-long pathway that extends from the mouth to the anus and constitutes the route foods and drinks we consume follow. Gastrointestinal cancer refers to the development of malignant tumors in the gastrointestinal tract and associated organs. It represents a heterogeneous, complex array of disorders and diseases. Cancers that occur at organs found in the upper section of the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and small intestine, are categorized as upper GI cancers.
Gastrointestinal malignancies include some of the most common types of cancer globally, including colorectal, stomach, and esophagus cancers, which are the third, fifth, and seventh most common cancers globally.
Recent years saw advancements in research concerning gastrointestinal cancer pathology and identification, which, along with the development of advanced endoscopic techniques and the fact that most gastrointestinal cancers develop over a long period of time, means that early diagnosis and expert care can frequently lead to positive results for treatment.
Gastrointestinal cancer treatment can include surgery, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and, in particular, the advanced HIPEC treatment: a focused chemotherapy procedure that constitutes a potent tool when dealing with advanced stages of GI cancers.
Gastrointestinal cancer can often metastasize, or spread to the abdominal cavity – the largest hollow space of the body that stretches from the diaphragm to the upper plane of the pelvic cavity. The abdominal cavity is lined by the peritoneum, a membrane that covers the inside wall of the cavity (parietal peritoneum) and every organ in it (visceral peritoneum). The space between the visceral and parietal peritoneum is called the peritoneal cavity. Chemotherapy is usually the treatment of choice in these cases. Unfortunately, the prognosis is often bad.
The problem with conventional chemotherapy in these cases is that it’s almost always administered intravenously, while many of these cancerous tumors have poor blood circulation, meaning it is difficult for the chemotherapy drugs to reach their targets via the circulatory system. The solution? HIPEC.
Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a chemotherapy ‘wash’ applied after surgical removal of visible abdominal tumors through cytoreductive surgery. As part of HIPEC treatment, the peritoneal cavity is bathed in highly concentrated doses of chemotherapy at an elevated temperature of 42 degrees Celsius. After about 90 minutes of infusion, the chemotherapy drugs are washed out.
HIPEC allows administering approximately 20 times the IV dose of chemotherapy, drastically increasing efficacy. Since the chemotherapy is delivered locally rather than systematically, the resulting toxic effects are also minimized. This high, heated dose of chemotherapy, combined with surgical removal of tumors, is currently the most effective method of addressing metastatic GI cancers in the abdominal cavity.
As reflected by published studies, the results of HIPEC far exceed those of conventional chemotherapy or surgery alone.
HIPEC at Sheba Medical Center
With a very high success rate, more than 500 patients have already undergone the HIPEC procedure at Sheba Medical Center in Israel, recognized as a global leader in its application. Prof. Aviram Nissan, Head of the Surgical Oncology Department at Sheba, was one of the first doctors worldwide to train in this innovative procedure, and surgeons from around the world travel to Israel to learn how to perform HIPEC from Prof. Nissan. At Sheba, the HIPEC procedure can also be performed laparoscopically by creating tiny port incisions through which a camera and instruments are inserted into the abdominal cavity instead of using a long incision as in open surgery. As a result, laparoscopic HIPEC patients require no surgical drains and are typically able to leave the hospital after just a few days.
Other advantages of receiving treatment at Sheba include:
- As a government institution, we have no hidden costs, and our fees are transparent. Although we offer advanced treatments available only in select medical institutions worldwide, our prices are affordable.
- Sheba treats each patient as a unique individual, personalizing every therapy program.
- Sheba’s 360-degree care approach to every patient means that our professionals will assist you with arranging medical record reviews, travel, visas, accommodations, and language interpretation as needed.
- Sheba has full accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI), the premier international healthcare accrediting group.
- Sheba has both advanced treatment and laboratory facilities. At Sheba, patients receive every aspect of their treatment in a single facility.
- Our physicians are actively involved in the latest research and application of progressive treatments.
- Multidisciplinary medicine: at Sheba, specialists from various departments collaborate to create a holistic treatment plan.
Gastrointestinal cancer is treatable with advanced medicine and quality care. Contact Sheba Medical Center for a free consultation.
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