|The cancer ends up smothering the organs when it grows too large.|
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.
"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.|
"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.)