BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Peritoneal cancer is cancer that develops in the thin layer of tissue that covers the abdomen on surfaces of organs, like the appendix, stomach, or intestines. Meet one man who says he owes his survival not only to his surgeon, but in a rare coincidence, a colleague who knew exactly what to look for.
Seventy-one-year-old Bob Hass runs a thriving construction company. Three years ago, this father of six, and grandfather of 14, started feeling “off”.
“I was having trouble keeping food down and, you know, looking back at it, my stomach was distended,” explained Hass.
Hass ignored those symptoms until his office manager Teresa insisted, he see her specialists. Teresa had just finished treatment for peritoneal cancer and recognized some of the subtle symptoms, like abdominal discomfort, feeling full even after a snack, loss of appetite and nausea. Hass said most of his family was in the room when the doctor delivered a devastating diagnosis. Hass had peritoneal cancer.
“He says, your husband, your dad, in my estimation has less than two weeks to live if we don’t do this surgery,” shared Hass.
Vadim Gushchin, MD, a surgical oncologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, said, “You need to be very meticulous with your technique, not to injure the structures where the tumor grows. It grows right on the surface.”
Dr. Gushchin performed two surgeries, six months apart to remove the tumors and treated Robert with HIPEC, a form of hot chemotherapy, delivered into his abdominal cavity. Two years later, Hass is cancer free.
Bob fields a team with his nickname “Buff Bob” to raise money for research and awareness of peritoneal cancer.
“I have to thank Teresa for putting me in the position for Dr. Gushchin to save my life,” smiled Hass.
This year, and for all the holidays to come.
Doctors say peritoneal cancer is often confused with stomach cancer or intestinal cancer but is not the same thing. The symptoms of peritoneal cancer and ovarian cancer are very similar because the ovaries are made up of the same type of cells that line the abdominal cavity.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Kirk Manson, Videographer.
HIPEC KEEPS BUFF BOB BUILDING
BACKGROUND: Peritoneal cancer is a rare cancer that develops in the thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen and is made of epithelial cells. This structure is called the peritoneum. This cancer is not the same as intestinal or stomach cancer. Peritoneal cancer starts in the peritoneum, and therefore called primary peritoneal cancer. Peritoneal cancer acts and looks like ovarian cancer because the surface of the ovaries is made of epithelial cells. Therefore, peritoneal cancer and ovarian cancer can cause similar symptoms. Doctors treat them in much the same way, however, despite its similarities with ovarian cancer, you can have peritoneal cancer even if your ovaries have been removed. Peritoneal cancer can occur anywhere in the abdomen and affects the surface of organs contained inside the peritoneum.
SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT: Diagnosing peritoneal cancer can be challenging because the symptoms are similar to digestive tract problems. Symptoms to look for are a feeling of general pain in your belly, such as indigestion, gas, bloating, or cramps; having indigestion, nausea, or constipation; the need to urinate often; having no appetite or feeling full after eating just a little; losing or gaining weight for no apparent reason; and, bleeding from the vagina, though this symptom is rare. Surgery is usually the starting point for treatment where the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes are removed. You may also have chemotherapy treatments as an outpatient. It is injected into a vein or through a catheter into your abdomen. Radiation involves aiming at the cancer with intense X-rays. Doctors may use this treatment on a small area of the abdomen if cancer returns after the first treatment. Finally, targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances to attack certain molecules such as proteins on cancer cells. It doesn’t kill healthy cells and can be used with chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation.
UNDERSTANDING HIPEC: HIPEC is performed at the end of surgery to remove abdominal tumors. Once all visible tumors have been removed (called cytoreduction), the surgeon continuously circulates a heated, sterile chemotherapy solution throughout the peritoneal cavity for up to 90 minutes. The HIPEC procedure is designed to attempt to kill any remaining cancer cells that cannot be seen. The solution is then removed, and the incision closed. Giving the chemotherapy in the abdomen at the time of surgery allows for greater concentrations of the drug where it is needed. Adding heat has a threefold advantage: heat above 41 degrees Celsius kills cancer cells more effectively while having fewer effects on normal cells; heat allows the chemotherapy to penetrate a few millimeters and kill cancer cells that cannot be seen; and, the chemotherapy dose can be higher than that given intravenously because it is not absorbed by the body in the same way. The normal side effects of chemotherapy can be avoided with this method.
* For More Information, Contact:
Dan Collins, Public Relations
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