UPDATE: Should "Hot Chemo" be used for more advanced cancers? Read this recent article by The New York Times.
Appendiceal cancer is very rare, so rare in fact, it’s considered a one in a million cancer diagnosis. On this episode of Patient Power, sponsored by UC San Diego Medical Center, we’ll learn how this disease changed one family’s life forever. “Powerful Patient” Jennifer Ambrose, a wife and mother of two, joins the hour to share her story of being diagnosed with cancer of the appendix. Her fascinating journey started in Chicago, later traveling across the country to San Diego with her entire family to see the only expert whom they believed could save her life. That expert, Dr. Andrew Lowy, Professor and Chief of Surgical Oncology at UCSD Medical Center, also participates to shed light on the rarity of this cancer and the array of advances in surgical techniques allowing patients to thrive. Dr. Lowy is a pioneer recognized around the world for his expertise and the Ambrose family specifically sought out his proficiency with a relatively new procedure called “chemo bath.”
Jennifer underwent a nine-hour surgery at UCSD Medical Center, where Dr. Lowy and his team removed a tumor from her liver, right diaphragm and spleen. Now home in Chicago, Jennifer is cancer-free and became pregnant just two months after the surgery. She talks about the side effects of the chemo bath, the support of her family throughout the ordeal and how she is doing today. Hear more about Jennifer's surgery and recovery and how she believes traveling across the country to an academic medical center truly saved her life. To watch Jennifer’s Powerful Patient video, click here.
Dr. Lowy begins by talking about the uncommonness of the disease and the function the appendix plays in the cancer. He helps us understand how cancer forms in the appendix, and the role of mucus and surgical treatments, like the chemo bath. Dr. Lowy also talks about how the chemo bath may also be a promising treatment for other types of metastasized abdominal cancers, such as some cancers of the colon, liver and pancreas. Hear about the state-of-the-art surgical techniques Dr. Lowy and his teams are utilizing to fight rare cancers, and making a difference with patients like Jennifer.
Andrew Lowy, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Professor and Chief of Surgical Oncology, University of California San Diego Medical CenterDr. Lowy is recognized worldwide for his expertise in the surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer and for investigating novel cancer treatments, which incorporate surgery and chemotherapy to treat patients with advanced cancer that has spread to the abdomen. Dr. Lowy serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Oncology and the Annals of Surgical Oncology . He also... more >
Diagnosed with appendiceal cancerIn April 2007, Ambrose was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called pseudomyxoma peritoneal cancer after a laparoscopic appendectomy revealed a malignant tumor. Pseudomyxoma peritoneal cancer strikes one of every 1 million Americans. Sometimes referred to as "jelly belly," it is usually caused by a mucus-producing tumor cell, often in the appendix. Jennifer underwent a nine hour surgery at... more >