Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One more thing--a news story

Since PMP news stories are so rare, I want to preserve this on on here:


Doctors perform risky surgery to remove deadly cancers
Updated: 3/5/2010 2:22:51 PM
By: News 8 Austin Staff

The cancer ends up smothering the organs when it grows too large.
The appendix is a pouch-like tube that's attached to the first section of the large intestine or colon. The organ is about 10 centimeters long and is considered part of the gastrointestinal tract. Doctors believe the appendix may play a role in the lymphatic and endocrine systems.
Appendix cancer occurs when cells in the appendix become abnormal and multiply without control, forming a tumor. Some appendiceal cancers produce mucus until they burst and shed cells in the abdominal or peritoneal cavity.
Pseudomyxoma peritonei is another name for such cancers that produce large amounts of mucus within the abdominal cavity. These cancers can come from the appendix, colon or ovaries.
Patients may have stomach pains or side pains that many times are mistaken for cramping or appendicitis. If the tumor is small when discovered, a standard appendectomy may be the only treatment needed. However, if the cancer has spread to the peritoneum, the membrane that lines the abdomen, the condition is much more serious. In this case, the cancer can coat the other organs in the abdomen, eventually suffocating them.
In a few medical centers across the country, including Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Md., and the University of California at San Diego Medical Center in San Diego, California, surgeons perform a complicated two-part procedure to attempt to remove as much of the cancer as possible.
The first part is called cytoreduction or debulking surgery, which removes the cancer in the abdomen.

"We start cleaning organ by organ, trying to remove all the tumor while at the same time making sure with what we leave behind the patient will have a good quality of life," Armando Sardi, M.D., of Mercy Medical Center, said. "As you can imagine, there's tumor everywhere, so it's impossible to believe that a surgeon is going to be able to remove every cell, but we do the best we can."After cytoreduction is complete, some patients may receive heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy, or HIPEC. Chemo drugs are heated to about 105 degrees and circulated over a 90-minute period through the abdominal cavity. Then the chemo is washed out.
"Heat alone kills cancer cells, but also enhances the effect of the chemotherapy," Dr. Sardi said. "You obtain high concentrations of the chemotherapy in the area where the tumor is and very little gets outside."
Heated chemo is circulated, then washed out.
Recovery from this procedure can be brutal, including up to 12 days in the hospital and two months of recovery at home.
"This is an operation and a treatment that has the potential for anything you can imagine, but the alternative is death," said Dr. Sardi.

(There is a video for it too, at http://www.news8austin.com/content/headlines/?ArID=268585&SecID=2, but I don't know for how long the video will be available.) 


Rachel said...

I snagged the story and put it on my facebook page for the interested. So rare to find a story about it to explain it in layman's terms.

Hope you're doing well!