Doctors now have another weapon to fight cancer. Heat. The alternative therapy allows them to do surgery and chemotherapy all at once. They say it's improving the quality and quantity of life for some patients. Serese Cole explains the "Hot Chemo" Procedure.
Bobbye Hill lives in Texas - but comes all the way to Nebraska for medical care. Her visits started a little over a year ago when she was diagnosed with stage four Ovarian Cancer.
"I was alarmed naturally," said Hill.
But Bobbye didn't give up. She immediately got online to search for the best doctors and treatment she could find. Her search brought her to the University of Nebraska Medical Center and to Dr. Jason Foster.
Dr. Foster performs a procedure that got Bobby's attention.
It has a long, complicated name - but it's best known as "Hot Chemo."
"What this entails is using heat as a way to kill cancer cells," said Dr. Foster.
The first step is surgery to remove all the visible cancer. Then surgeons target the cancer they can't see with a heated chemotherapy solution. They literally fill the abdominal cavity with it.
"We temporarily close the skin and we submerge the organs in this bath of chemotherapy and that therapy is given for 90-120 minutes... to maximize tumor killing," explained Dr. Foster.
Research shows it's working. Dr. Foster explains a recent Colorectal Cancer study.
"People who typically would be looking at a five-percent five year survival - have about a 50-percent five year survival-ship," said Dr. Foster.
That's promising news for Bobbye who just celebrated her 70th birthday.
"One of the residents said, 'This is a bump in the road. We'll just take care of this and we'll get on with life'," Bobbye said.
She's hoping this treatment will allow her to do just that and celebrate more birthdays to come.
Dr. Foster is one of a very small number of surgeons in the U.S that performs the "Hot Chemo" therapy. He has treated a couple of hundred patients using this procedure and says more than half of them will now enjoy a long term survival rate.
Unfortunately, this treatment doesn't work for every kind of cancer. The Hot Chemo procedure is only used to treat cancers of the appendix, ovaries, colon as well as mesothelioma.