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VCU Massey Cancer Center

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Leopoldo Fernandez, M.D., and his surgical team demonstrate HIPEC in VCU Health School of Medicine's Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety

HIPEC (heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy) is a complex procedure reserved for patients with advanced abdominal cancers. It involves cytoreduction surgery to remove as much of the tumor or tumors as possible, followed by the circulation of a heated chemotherapy solution throughout the abdominal cavity. The chemotherapy solution helps kill any remaining cancer cells and reduces the risk of cancer recurrence. There is substantial evidence showing HIPEC is an effective treatment for several cancers affecting the abdominal region.

VCU Massey Cancer Center’s Leopoldo Fernandez, M.D., and Stephanie Sullivan, M.D., are among the few surgical oncologists in the state to offer HIPEC for the treatment of advanced or complex abdominal cancers, including:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Pseudomyxoma peritonei
  • Appendiceal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Low-grade sarcoma
  • Peritoneal inclusion cysts

‌HIPEC patients are assisted by a dedicated nurse navigator, who helps guide them through diagnosistic tests, treatment and recovery. Patients typically spend 5-7 days recuperating in the hospital following HIPEC, which is similar to standard cytoreduction surgery. 

Watch the video below to see Fernandez and the HIPEC team explain the procedure and what patients can expect. For more information about HIPEC, or for appointments and referrals, please call (804) 628-3111 or email

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