"Hot chemo" for recurrent bowel cancer

Dear Nurse,

I have been told by my surgeon last week that my bowel cancer has returned in the same place, that there is a node below my kidney and a spot on my lung. He has sent a referral to Basingstoke hospital for me to have further surgery to remove the tumours and hot chemotherapy. Do you have any information on this type of chemotherapy and how effective it is? Also what sort of side effects I can expect presuming I am accepted. I don't have any symptoms as yet but very scared the tumour will cause me a bowel obstruction as happened last year.

Many thanks,


  • Hi 

    Thanks for getting in touch. It’s nice to see you are getting support from others here on the online community..

    It can be a shock to hear the cancer has returned and that you require more treatment. Hot chemotherapy is used once surgery has removed the metastases.

    Hyperthermic Intra-Peritoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) is where chemotherapy at 42 degrees is instilled into the abdominal cavity for 90 minutes then drained away. Chemotherapy can be given in higher doses by this method of instillation and the heat process affects the cancer cells ability to grow. Side-effects are listed in this patient information sheet, they tend to be more related to the operation rather than the chemotherapy. This will vary from person to person but gives you a rough idea on what to expect.

    This paper discusses the pros and cons of HIPEC and surgery on improving survival with the aim of reducing morbidity. Whilst this abstract discusses success rates at  1-2 years following treatment.

    I hope this is helpful for you to make a list of questions in preparation for your appointment. If you want to chat this through with one of our nurses, then give us a call on the Macmillan Support Line.

    I hope this is helpful

    Best wishes

    Lorraine-Macmillan Information Nurse Specialist

  • Many thanks for the reply Lorraine. That is very helpful. I will read through the articles you have sent when I have a chance more time. 

    Best wishes