A cancer surgeon at Riverside Methodist Hospital is offering an alternative to chemotherapy that could help some patients avoid harmful side effects, 10TV’s Andrea Cambern reported on Tuesday.
The abdominal cancer treatment, called a hot chemo bath, is administered while a patient undergoes surgery to remove the cancer. Chemotherapy drugs are heated to 107 degrees and put directly into the abdomen, which is then rocked to spread the drugs, said surgeon David Arrese.
During the process, doctors cover the patient with a cooling blanket to keep the body temperature from overheating. When surgery is finished, the drug is removed.
"It allows the uniform distribution through all the abdominal cavity, to make sure every surface is covered by chemotherapy, and any cancer left behind will hopefully be killed," Arrese said.
The treatment is effective and helps patients avoid side effects like nausea, weakness and hair loss. Arrese said.
Mount Vernon resident Paul Arnold was diagnosed with abdominal cancer last November.
"We were told I had two weeks to live. Two weeks to two years," he said, then paused. "But the two years kind of got to me. Am I going to make it to Thanksgiving? Am I going to make it to Christmas?"
Arrese provided the high school chemistry teacher with the formula to help save his life. He suggested an unusual treatment that is gaining favor with cancer surgeons across the country.
"Once this is done, the assumption is that there is microscopic disease left behind, and this is where the chemo comes in," Arrese said. "Increasing the temperature just by itself has been shown to kill cancer cells and not effect normal cells.”
And for Arnold, more years of life.
"You're looking at five year survivals of over 80 percent," the doctor said.
"I said wow, should we be out in the hall doing a happy dance right now?" Arnold said.
Arrese said researchers are looking at the hot chemo bath as a possible way to treat some colon and stomach cancers, too.
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