Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program

New hope for patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis

Peritoneal carcinomatosis, also called peritoneal surface malignancy, is cancer that has spread to the lining of the abdomen. Until recently, patients living with this aggressive form of cancer were considered terminally ill.

That's all changed, and there's new hope for patients with widespread metastatic tumors of the abdominal cavity.

The Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program at Tufts Medical Center is one of the few Boston-area programs to offer a state-of-the-art cancer therapy called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), which improves both outcomes and quality of life.

Tufts MC was the first hospital in Massachusetts to perform HIPEC procedures to aggressively treat malignancies of the peritoneum caused by:

What is HIPEC and how does it work?

The HIPEC procedure is a form of heated chemotherapy that is delivered directly to the abdominal cavity — and therefore directly to the site of your tumors.

To perform the HIPEC procedure, our surgical oncologists first remove as many visible tumors as possible from your abdominal cavity using standard surgical methods. Following your surgery, you remain in the operating room for up to two hours while we circulate a heated chemotherapy solution throughout your abdomen.

Heating the anti-cancer drugs makes them stronger and helps kill more cancer cells. In addition, the warm fluid softens any remaining microscopic tumors so that they absorb more of the chemotherapy solution. 

Learn more by reading our HIPEC FAQs >

Is the HIPEC procedure effective?

If you're considering HIPEC treatment, you may be wondering if the results are different from traditional chemotherapy. Multiple studies show the procedure can improve overall survival and, depending on the origin of the tumor, help patients live long, healthy lives. In addition, HIPEC improves quality of life, helping you feel better with fewer symptoms so you can get back to your everyday activities.

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