Hearing about a family or loved one getting cancer never gets any less painful.
And sometimes it’s hard to detect as well, and at times is too late by the time it’s found out.
It can feel hopeless a lot of the time.
New Targeted Chemotherapy Method Could Help Patients With Late-Stage Cancers
However, a new chemotherapy method might be able to bring light to these dark situations.
It was recently reported that a new chemotherapy method might be able to help those with later stages of cancer.
Specifically, those with colon, gastric and ovarian cancers, and is called the Pressurised Intraperitoneal Aerosol Chemotherapy (Pipac) method.
It works by distributing the chemotherapy solution in aerosol form through what is called a port directly into the abdomen via a catheter.
This method was introduced at the National University Hospital (NUH) and National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS).
And the results seem promising so far.
49 Pipac procedures have been administered to 31 patients so far, with most having gastric or colorectal cancer.
Around 60 per cent of patients saw their tumours shrink in size.
It is also noted to have fewer side effects compared with the usual chemotherapy.
Currently, NUH is the main training centre for Pipac procedures in Asia and have taught this skill worldwide.
Not A Cure
However, as wonderful as it sounds, the Pipac method is not meant to be a cure-all.
Some who took the treatment already had cancer that had already spread to other organs and was in the late to final stages of it.
As a result, they were unresponsive to the treatment.
Two cases of mild pancreatitis were reported among the patients but no deaths have occurred.
Professor Jimmy So from NUH said in later stages, cancer often spreads to spaces within the abdomen that contains organs such as the stomach and liver.
This space is also known as the peritoneal cavity.
This tends to produce excess fluid in the abdomen, causing significant bloating and intestinal obstruction, making it very uncomfortable.
In such cases, Prof So says that smaller amounts of the drug can be administered since it directly targets the affected area.
This would see much less of it will be absorbed into the bloodstream and reducing the side effects.
Continuously Improving Treatment
As much as we want cancer to just go away, it’s simply not happening.
In fact, roughly 3,000 new patients are diagnosed with colon, gastric and ovarian cancers, every year and are the main causes of cancer-related deaths here.
Among these numbers, 30 per cent show spreading to the peritoneal cavity.
Colorectal cancer problems are also the most common types shared among men and women.
But our efforts to combat cancer are also evolving.
NUH is leading a new international clinical trial that combines the Pipac treatment with immunotherapy.
This would help stomach cancer patients who have had the illness spread to their peritoneum.
Prof So hopes the trial could soon be extended to patients who are at an earlier stage of cancer so the treatment could be more effective for them.
He said trials that involved said patients usually had a positive clinical response rate of around 80 or 90 per cent.
Hopefully, once perfected, this method could help save many more lives.
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