Home 🡪 Blogs 🡪 How is HIPEC different than traditional chemotherapy?


How is HIPEC different than traditional chemotherapy?

Navigating the multitude of cancer treatment options may be a daunting experience for individuals and their families. With advancements in cancer treatment, techniques such as Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) have arisen as a beacon of hope, offering potentially game-changing distinctions from standard chemotherapy.

But what differentiates HIPEC, and how does it compare to the tried-and-true method? In this detailed comparison, we examine the complexities of both therapies, providing cancer patients with the information they need to make educated choices about their care.

How is HIPEC different than traditional chemotherapy

Understanding the basics


Before delving into the comparison, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of HIPEC and standard chemotherapy.

Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC)

HIPEC is a surgical treatment used to treat cancer that has progressed to the abdominal cavity lining. It is a targeted and localised approach. It involves the direct delivery of a heated chemotherapeutic solution to the tumour site, resulting in high drug concentrations. The localised nature of HIPEC helps to reduce systemic exposure to the medicine, hence lowering the severity of usual chemotherapy side effects.

Traditional Chemotherapy: The Systemic Warriors

Traditional chemotherapy is a systemic treatment that employs chemicals to eliminate cancer cells throughout the body. It may be delivered intravenously or orally and acts by targeting fast dividing cells, which are characteristic of most cancer cells. While effective, its non-targeted nature often affects healthy cells, resulting in typical side effects such hair loss, nausea, and anaemia.

Read more: Life expectancy after HIPEC surgery

A Closer Look at HIPEC.

Delving further into HIPEC reveals its distinct characteristics and benefits.

HIPEC Process: Precision in Motion

During HIPEC, the surgeon initially removes visible tumours from the abdominal cavity. Then, warm chemotherapy is cycled into the cavity for a certain amount of time, usually up to 90 minutes. Heat and direct contact with the medicine may help cancer cells absorb the therapy, possibly enhancing treatment results.

HIPEC’s Focused Fight Against Tumours

One of the most notable benefits of HIPEC is its ability to target small cancers that other surgical procedures may miss. HIPEC, which bathes the region with hot chemo, may eliminate leftover cancer cells, lowering the probability of cancer recurring. This makes HIPEC especially useful for tumours including ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, and certain colorectal cancers that extend to the peritoneal surface.

Success Stories: HIPEC’s Impact on Outcome

Numerous patient experiences demonstrate HIPEC’s efficacy in providing hope and extending life. Rare patients with advanced abdominal malignancies who may have had few therapy alternatives have shown exceptional responses to HIPEC, including extended periods of disease progression and, in rare cases, complete disease remission.

Must read : Is HIPEC Surgery Painful?

Examining Traditional Chemotherapy.


Traditional chemotherapy remains the cornerstone of cancer treatment, with its benefits and drawbacks well recognised.

Chemotherapy Journey: A Widespread Assault

Chemotherapy medications circulate through the circulation, searching for and eliminating cancer cells wherever they may be. This systematic technique is daunting in scope, but it may result in more severe side effects than localised therapies such as HIPEC. However, its systemic nature enables it to be effective against malignancies that have spread to other parts of the body.

How Does It Works?

Traditional chemotherapy disrupts cell division at many stages, causing DNA damage in cancer cells. This damage makes it harder for the cells to increase, which might eventually lead to death. While chemotherapy is notorious for causing side effects, developments in medication research and supportive treatment have considerably improved tolerance for many individuals.

Limitations and Challenges

Despite its extensive usage, conventional chemotherapy has drawbacks, including drug resistance and failing to eradicate all cancer cells, which may lead to disease recurrence. There is also the problem of combining therapeutic effectiveness and quality of life, particularly for patients with advanced malignancies.

A Comparative Analysis of HIPEC and Traditional Chemotherapy.


Let’s take a complete look at how HIPEC and standard chemotherapy compare in several elements of cancer treatment.

Efficacy: Tailoring to Tumor Type 

HIPEC is more successful for specific forms of cancer, especially those that disseminate to the abdominal cavity. It may provide better local control, perhaps increasing survival rates and lowering the need for further procedures. Traditional chemotherapy, on the other hand, may be a better option for malignancies that have spread to other organs.

Impact on Quality of Life.

HIPEC’s focused approach results in fewer adverse effects than standard chemotherapy. While recovery following HIPEC surgery might be longer, patients often report a higher quality of life throughout therapy. Traditional chemotherapy, when combined with contemporary supportive care, enables many patients to retain an acceptable level of activity and function.

Long-term outcomes

The long-term effects of HIPEC and standard chemotherapy may be complex to compare since they are influenced by a variety of variables, including tumour kind and stage. HIPEC has been linked to higher survival rates and maybe decreased recurrence rates in some cancer types, but more study is required to confirm its advantages firmly. Traditional chemotherapy has a longer track record, with proven results for a variety of cancer types.

Choosing Between HIPEC & Chemotherapy Treatment


When choosing between HIPEC and conventional chemotherapy, patients should consider various variables.

Personal Goals and Lifestyle

Understanding your objectives and lifestyle may assist you and your medical team in determining the best course of therapy. If minimising time away from work and family is critical, conventional chemotherapy may provide a more adaptable option. In contrast, if the main objective is to get the greatest possible result, HIPEC may be the better alternative.

Potential treatment feasibility

It is critical to evaluate the viability of HIPEC as well as standard chemotherapy. This includes your present health state, the facilities accessible to you, and the knowledge of your medical staff. It is important to have open conversations with your doctor to understand what each therapy entails and if you are a fit candidate.

Support and Expectations.

Consider the degree of support you have available, as well as your treatment expectations. HIPEC, being a highly specialised treatment, may need more rigorous postoperative care. Traditional chemotherapy, although more readily accessible, requires a robust support system to address possible side effects and emotional requirements.

In conclusion: The choice is personal.


As we wrap up our discussion of HIPEC and standard chemotherapy, it is apparent that both therapies have a place in the cancer care mosaic. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages, and the decision between the two is ultimately a very personal one that should be taken in close collaboration with your surgical oncologist and care team.

HIPEC is a beacon of innovation and tailored effectiveness for patients with peritoneal surface malignancies or those exploring metastatic cancer therapy choices. While standard chemotherapy’s time-tested technique continues to provide hope and healing to millions of patients worldwide.

Whatever option you choose, understand that the decision-making process is just as important as the treatments themselves. Educate yourself, ask questions, and rely on your surgical oncologist’s experience to create the best path ahead in your cancer struggle. After all, information is power, and in healthcare, it enables individuals to actively participate in their care and fight for the treatment they deserve.



    About Author
    Dr. Praveen Kammar

    Surgical Oncologist


    Years Of Experience

    Dr. Praveen Kammar is a Best Surgical Oncologist in Mumbai. His main area of expertise aslso includes GI oncology, Gynecological cancers, minimal access surgeries, Robotics surgery, Laparoscopic Surgery, HIPEC.

    Dr. Praveen has done more than 6000+ surgeries in his expertise.

    More About Doctor


    Related Blogs