In the treatment of cancer, drugs are administered into the peritoneal cavity. It is less common than IV chemotherapy, but it is still used in some people for certain types of cancer.

The peritoneal cavity contains your stomach, intestines, and liver. This area is where the cancer cells are targeted by theperitoneal chemotherapy.

This article will look at how and why it is administered, as well as what side effects are most common with this treatment.

An illustration that depicts the peritoneal space, peritoneal access port, and catheter for intraperitoneal chemotherapy.
Illustration by Maya Chastain

Some people still use IV chemotherapy to treat cancer that affects their abdominal region, even though it is less often used.

The goal of the treatment is to kill any cancer cells that may remain in the abdomen. It is only prescribed for mass that is less than 2.5 centimeters in length.

Compared with traditional or systemic chemotherapy, there are some important advantages.

Systemic chemotherapy is done through a vein. The drugs have to travel through your entire body to eliminate the cancer.

The peritoneal cavity is harder to penetrate than other areas. Systemic chemotherapy is not usually as effective on cancers in this region.

“In contrast, the treatment of cancer in the peritoneal cavity is directly targeted by the treatment of cancer in the peritoneal cavity. The drugs can be given in higher doses than traditional chemotherapy because they don’t have to pass through the rest of your body.”

The drugs are absorbed into your blood. The cancer cells can be found outside of your abdominal cavity.

According to research, women with stage 3 Ovarian cancer is the most common cancer., who still have very small tumors remaining after surgery, have improved 3-year survival rates if they’re treated with both intraperitoneal chemotherapy and IV chemotherapy, compared with just IV chemotherapy.

The downside is that the side effects of the treatment may be more severe.

There are two types of cancer treatment.

Adjuvant (post-operative) intraperitoneal chemotherapy

Adjuvant intraperitoneal chemotherapy is typically administered several days after your cancer surgery.

During your cancer surgery, a surgeon may have placed an intraperitoneal access port under the skin in your upper abdomen. Sometimes, this port is put in place during a separate surgical procedure.

The port has a thin tube that is used to deliver the cancer drugs to yourperitoneal cavity. It is small, but you should be able to feel it.

How adjuvant intraperitoneal chemotherapy is delivered

  1. You will receive instructions prior to your first round of treatment. You might be required to take medication at home the day before your treatment.
  2. At the treatment center, a nurse will administer preparatory medications, such as anti-nausea drugs, and IV fluid. They’ll give you the chemotherapy by inserting an access needle into your port.
  3. The treatment can last for up to 3 hours. You might feel some abdominal pain during this time. The nurse will cover your port with a bandage after removing the access needle.
  4. Roll from side to side every 15 minutes for 1 or 2 hours after the treatment. This can help the drugs get to your peritoneal cavity.
  5. You should have someone with you home after the treatment is over. You might be given a prescription to take home.

Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC)

Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy is a one-time treatment that is administered during surgery. It is important to eliminate all the cancer cells from your abdomen.

How HIPEC is delivered

  1. A surgeon will try to remove as much of the cancer as possible. This part of the procedure can take up to 8 hours if your cancer is advanced.
  2. Next, the chemotherapy drugs are heated up using a perfusion machine and administered into your peritoneal cavity using a catheter — a thin, flexible tube.
  3. The surgeon may massage you or move you back and forth on the operating table to make sure the drugs reach your peritoneal cavity. The procedure takes up to 2 hours.
  4. After the surgical procedure is over, your abdomen is washed with salt water and the catheter is removed.
  5. You will stay at the hospital for up to 2 weeks after the procedure.

During surgery, HIPEC is only given once. The treatment can last for several weeks.

You will be told the schedule for your treatment by a doctor or healthcare professional.

A sample intraperitoneal chemotherapy schedule for Ovarian cancer is the most common cancer. includes 1 or 2 days of treatment, followed by 5 days of rest at home. Each new cycle starts a week after the previous one for up to six cycles.

The side effects are different for both HIPEC and adjuvant. Side effects can vary based on the type of drugs used.

A doctor can help you understand what side effects you may have.

There are some common side effects of adjuvants.

  • There are abdominal pains, pressure, or cramping.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • There is damage to the kidneys.
  • decreased appetite
  • Experiencing a bout of scurvy or scurvy.

Some of the most common side effects of HIPEC include:

  • Consuming food issues.
  • pleural effusion (fluid buildup around your lungs)
  • Pneumonia.
  • There are blood clot.
  • A decrease in bone marrow and blood cells can lead to infections and bleeding.

If you are having side effects of treatment, you should talk to a doctor. They might be able to prescribe more medication to help you.

If you experience severe side effects, get medical attention.

  • There is blood in your urine or stool.
  • high temperature
  • inability to drink or eat
  • “nausea or vomiting that doesn’t go away with medication”
  • There is pain, redness, or swelling around your port.
  • There is abdominal pain.

It is uncommon for cancer to affect your abdominal area with the use of inspiratory chemotherapy. It involves injecting drugs into your peritoneal cavity.

Compared with traditional chemotherapy, the higher dose of the therapy is more likely to eliminate cancer cells in your abdomen. It is used to remove a tumor.

“A doctor can help you decide if it’s right for you.”