Baptist Health Center of Robotic Surgery offers a treatment for recurrent ovarian cancer that is a combination of robotic surgery and heated chemotherapy. The procedure, the Miami Herald reports, is designed to begin applying treatment immediately instead waiting the sometimes weeks long recovery period between surgery and chemotherapy treatment.
After a patient has undergone robotic surgery for the removal of their cancer, heated chemotherapy is then infused into the belly of the patient while they are still in the operating room. Dr. John Diaz, a gynecologic oncologist at the center, believes that the experimental procedure will yield benefits. Not waiting the usual three weeks between robotic surgery and the beginning of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer patients allows for optimum penetration into cells.
“We can give higher doses of chemo into the belly than we could into the veins because we are eliminating some of the toxicities,” Diaz said. “The chemotherapy is in direct contact with the area where the cancer tends to recur, which is in the belly.”
While know that treatment is possible and safe, it is not yet clear whether heated chemo injected into the belly post-robotic surgery is better than the standard surgery. Clinical trials showed that a similar procedure using non-heated chemo gave initial remission, with about half have a recurrence.
“We are not yet sure if it is better than the standard surgery.” Diaz said, “We think it is but we don’t have that data yet.”
A similar style of robotic surgery helped cancer patients by directly applying radiation to cancerous tumors.
To read more about the potential of robotic surgery to help ovarian cancer patients, check out the original article in the Miami Herald.