Colon Cancer

Mayo Clinic Q&A: Unique treatment bathes internal cavity with hot chemotherapy

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: How does HIPEC work? Why is it only used on patients with late-stage cancers?

ANSWER: HIPEC stands for hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy. "Hyperthermic" means warm or hot. "Intraperitoneal" means inside the abdominal cavity, which is encased in a sac called the peritoneum. And "chemotherapy" is cancer treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cancer cells in the body.

HIPEC works by using high-dose chemotherapy to kill microscopic cancer cells inside the abdominal cavity. The procedure is performed in conjunction with cancer surgery. It's used only for people who have cancer that has spread inside...