Appendix cancer is characterized by uncontrolled cell division in the appendix. While the cornerstone of treatment remains surgery, specifically appendectomy (appendix removal) in response to cancer cell growth, a combined approach involving surgery and chemotherapy is employed when the cancer has spread, particularly within the abdominal region.
Despite surgery being the primary course of action, chemotherapy plays a vital role. Chemotherapy agents can be administered orally or intravenously. For cases categorized as stage 2, chemotherapy is recommended when the cancer has extended to nearby areas. Intravenous chemotherapy is typically performed post-surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence.
In instances where appendix cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other organs beyond the abdomen, systemic chemotherapy is utilized. If cancer cells have infiltrated the abdominal cavity from the appendix, a technique called Intraperitoneal chemotherapy is employed.
Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy: A Targeted Approach
Intraperitoneal chemotherapy involves debulking (cytoreductive surgery), followed by the administration of chemotherapy directly into the abdomen during surgery. This is achieved using a slender tube that delivers the chemotherapeutic agent. This approach is effective against cancer cells confined to the abdominal cavity.
However, it's important to note that chemotherapy does come with side effects, which may include fatigue, hair loss, and diarrhea. These effects are the result of the drugs affecting both cancerous and healthy cells.
HIPEC: A Heated Approach
In certain cases, a specialized form of chemotherapy known as Hyperthermic IntraPeritoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC), or heated chemotherapy, is employed. This technique involves administering heated chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity during surgery. The heat enhances the chemotherapy's effectiveness and penetration into cancerous tissues.
In conclusion, chemotherapy, when combined with surgical intervention, proves to be an effective strategy against appendix cancer.