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 Mount Sinai Offers Hope Against Intestinal Cancer

Mount Sinai Offers Hope Against Intestinal Cancer

8/7/2007 11:20:28 AM

Mount Sinai Offers Hope Against Intestinal Cancer

Young Mother Fights Back With Groundbreaking Surgery

(CBS) NEW YORK An aggressive cancer treatment tried and tested in other parts of the world is now available here in New York.

For the first time at Mount Sinai Medical Center, doctors recently performed groundbreaking surgery on a 32-year-old woman determined to beat cancer.

"It just came out of the blue," cancer patient Assya Bardarov said. "It's horrifying." Bardarov, diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May, just this month discovered she also had metastatic stomach cancer.

"Which means the tumor started in her stomach and spread to the organs in her abdomen," said Dr. Daniel Labow, assistant professor of surgery at Mount Sinai.

Bardarov was given less than a year to live -- devastating news for this wife and mother of two young children.

"Leah is 3 and she's the most gorgeous ever," Bardarov said. "And Sid is eight months and he is huge and round. We call him 'circle.'"

So Bardarov made up her mind. She would find a way to buy more time. That's when she heard about hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy -- or "hipec."

The term "intraperitoneal" means that the treatment is delivered to the abdominal cavity. The term "hyperthermic chemotherapy" means that the solution containing chemotherapy is heated to a temperature greater than normal body temperature.

Before hipec is administered, the surgeon, using standard surgical methods, will remove all visible tumors that can be removed throughout the peritoneal cavity. This is known as cytoreductive surgery.

Following cytoreductive surgery, in the operative setting, the surgeon will administer hipec treatment. During the procedure, the surgeon will continuously circulate a heated sterile solution, containing a chemotherapeutic agent, throughout the peritoneal cavity for a maximum of two hours.

The hipec procedure is designed to attempt to kill any remaining cancer cells. The procedure also improves drug absorption and effect with minimal exposure to the rest of the body.

In this way, the normal side effects of chemotherapy can be avoided.

"The same chemotherapy people get in the vein but at a much higher concentration and at a higher temperature," Dr. Labow said.

Doctors said the procedure can take up to 10 hours. Bardarov said that's just fine. Having done enough research, she knows those 10 hours can make a world of a difference in her life.

"I'm not planning on leaving this world anytime soon," she said.

And with that attitude she went into surgery, where doctors first removed tumors in her stomach and then performed the heated chemotherapy.

"And that will serve to kill the microscopic tumors that we may not be able to see that could recur down the road," Dr. Labow said. "The abdominal cavity is really where this has been proven to be effective."

Doctors said Bardarov still needs follow-up care, but for now the surgery ensures her more time to spend with Leah and Sid.

CBS 2 HD has learned the surgery went well and Bardarov is recovering just fine.

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