Alternative Gynecologic Treatment Offers Hope for Women With Recurring Cancers

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Gynecologic Oncology Program at John Muir Health is offering
state-of-the-art technology and treatment options for women with some
recurring gynecologic cancers and gastrointestinal cancers, including
ovarian, colon, appendiceal and mesothelioma.

The procedure, known as HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal
chemotherapy), is performed on patients if their disease is limited to
the abdominal cavity. The Gynecologic Oncology surgeons at John Muir
Health began performing HIPEC in late 2010 and have successfully
completed the procedure on more than two dozen patients.

“We’re proud to be one of a few medical centers in Northern and Central
California to offer HIPEC as an option to a select group of patients,”
said Babak Edraki, M.D., medical director of the Gynecologic Oncology
Program. John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek was recently recognized
by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Top 20 hospitals in
the United States for gynecology services, which includes gynecologic
cancer care.

The two-part HIPEC treatment begins in the operating room with the
removal of as much of the cancerous tumor or tumors as possible.
Directly following the tumor removal, a tumor-specific chemotherapy
agent is heated and circulated throughout the abdominal cavity for 90
minutes at a temperature of 107 degrees Fahrenheit to directly target
any remaining, undetected cancer cells.

“HIPEC provides an advanced treatment option for patients who may
otherwise have limited options when facing a recurring cancer in the
abdominal area, which can be difficult to treat,” said Dr. Edraki. “The
proven track record of this combination therapy slows the spread of the
disease and helps extend patients’ lives.”

The major clinical and patient benefits of HIPEC include:

  • No or limited chemotherapy side effects due to the single dose
    administered rather than multiple rounds of chemotherapy
  • Minimal exposure to the rest of the body of the chemotherapy treatment
  • The regional dose intensity of the chemotherapy agent and its match to
    a patient’s specific tumor, which increases its effectiveness
  • Heat increases the drug’s penetration into the tissue in the abdominal
  • Heat increases how toxic the chemotherapy is to the cancer cells

“For many patients, a recurrence of cancer can seem hopeless. Having
been through surgery, chemotherapy and sometimes radiation, each with
side effects, the return of cancer after a period of remission can be
devastating,” says Carolyn Berson, RN, MSN, nurse navigator for
Gynecologic Oncology Services at John Muir Health. “This progressive
treatment brings new hope.”

For more information on John Muir Health’s gynecologic cancer services,
please visit

About John Muir Health

John Muir Health is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health care
organization east of San Francisco serving patients in Contra Costa,
eastern Alameda and southern Solano Counties. It includes a network of
more than 1,000 primary care and specialty physicians, nearly 6,000
employees, medical centers in Concord and Walnut Creek, including Contra
Costa County’s only trauma center, and a Behavioral Health Center. John
Muir Health also has partnerships with San Ramon Regional Medical
Center, UCSF Medical Center and Stanford Children’s Health to expand its
capabilities, increase access to services and better serve patients. The
health system offers a full-range of medical services, including primary
care, outpatient and imaging services, and is widely recognized as a
leader in many specialties – neurosciences, orthopedic, cancer,
cardiovascular, trauma, emergency, pediatrics and high-risk obstetrics
care. For more information, visit


John Muir Health
Ben Drew, 925-947-5387