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Appendix Cancer Treatment


What are the treatments for appendix cancer?

Effective treatment of appendix cancer may include surgery and chemotherapy and should be planned by an experienced medical team of specialist including gastrointestinal surgeons, medical oncologist, pathology review, radiology and in some circumstances radiation oncologist. The final treatment plan depends on the appendix cancer cell type, the stage of the tumor and the patients overall medical condition and health.

In addition to our multidisciplinary team at Markey Cancer Center, we offer integrative oncology resources such as nutrition, alternative medicine and social work, to improve quality of life while undergoing treatments for appendix cancer.

  • Surgery

    Depending on the stage of your tumor, your surgeon may perform one of the following procedures:

    Appendectomy. This is surgical removal of the appendix, often done thru small 3 mm incisions, and may be curative for small (<1.5 cm) carcinoid appendix tumors that have not spread. Healthy patients may be discharged on the same day of surgery.

    Hemicolectomy. For larger carcinoid appendix tumors (>2 cm) and the other appendix cancers, surgeons may recommend removal of the appendix and the adjacent or nearby portion of the colon as well as the associated lymph nodes. This is to ensure that cancer cells are not left behind and to sample the lymph nodes for spread.

    Cytoreductive surgery. This specialized surgery is typically recommended for patients with later-stage appendix cancer which may have spread to the abdominal lining. During this procedure, specially trained surgeons will remove all of the visible cancer, and then perform a “washing” of the abdominal cavity with chemotherapy that has been heated to increase its effectiveness. Surgeons at the Markey Cancer Center are part of a team that perform a high volume of these complex cases every year (>50).

  • Chemotherapy and HIPEC

    Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells as they divide and grow. When appendix cancer has spread into the lymph nodes or other organs, your medical oncologist may recommend chemotherapy. Systemic chemotherapy refers to drugs that enter the bloodstream to kill cancer cells thru-out the body. These drugs are administered or given by mouth (orally) or thru an IV (intravenous). Depending on your specific circumstance, chemotherapy may be given before or after surgery.

    Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a one-time administration of chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity and is most often combined with cytoreductive surgery described above. This specialized cutting edge procedure allows your team to deliver a higher dose of chemotherapy directly onto the tissue and directly target microscopic cancer cells which are not visible on scans or to the human eyes.

    Learn more about HIPEC treatment.

  • Clinical trials

    At the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, we are advancing cancer care and research to prevent, detect and treat one patient at a time. As a patient at Markey, you have a team of people looking at your individual case, applying the most recent cancer knowledge to give you the best chance of survival.

    Markey has more open clinical trials than any other cancer center in the region, giving you access to some of the most advanced options available.