Patient Story

Joanne's Story: The HIPEC Procedure for Abdominal Cancer

December 13, 2017

St. John Hospital Surgical Oncologist Dr. Richard Berri is featured in this video with patient Joanne, who has a rare form of recurring cancer. Joanne's story is inspirational and shows the power of the human spirit, the dedication of her surgeon, and the importance of person-centered care.

What is HIPEC

Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy or HIPEC, is a procedure that has applications for advanced cancers that have spread to the lining of the abdominal cavity including colorectal, gastric, ovarian, appendiceal and mesothelioma.

The treatment involves surgically removing cancerous tumors from the abdominal cavity, then bathing the cavity with heated chemotherapy. Dr. Berri then continuously circulates the heated, sterile chemotherapy solution throughout the abdominal cavity for up to two hours. The solution is then removed and the incision is closed.

Delivering heated chemotherapy throughout the abdominal cavity distributes the drug thoroughly and allows it to directly penetrate the areas of cancer and reach areas where cancer cells aren’t easily visible.

HIPEC is a viable treatment option that has been shown to extend and improve patients’ quality of life.

Why Choose St. John Providence
Dr. Richard Berri's surgical oncology practice at the Van Elslander Cancer Center on the campus of St. John Hospital & Medical Center is dedicated to providing patients with the highest quality of care in a patient and family centered environment. Our goal is to partner with the patient to educate them to the fullest extent of their health care needs. Dr. Berri is up to date with the best practice surgical techniques and procedures. Dr. Berri's office staff includes a dedicated nurse practitioner, GI nurse navigator, GI dietitian, and a patient access advocate.

Since the start of the HIPEC (Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy) program back in October of 2011, Dr. Berri has seen over 450 new patients in his office and has performed over 200 HIPEC surgeries. The HIPEC program at St. John Hospital & Medical Center is one of the nation’s top volume HIPEC programs and was the first HIPEC program established in Michigan. Dr. Berri has consulted and performed HIPEC surgeries on local, regional, national, and international patients. The Peritoneal Malignancies Program and HIPEC team's depth of experience is unmatched. Dr. Berri and his team also lead the Jerome F. Williams Gastric Cancer Program.

Patients seen by Dr. Berri have the option of being seen in a multidisciplinary clinic fashion where a team of experts evaluate the patient. This is especially helpful in the light of a new diagnosis or for a second opinion. Patients will be evaluated by medical, surgical, and radiation oncology as well as gastroenterology. Through the multidisciplinary clinic each patient will receive an individualized plan of care that works best for the patient, their family, and their diagnosis.