New hope in Bogota for people with advanced abdominal cancers


Dr Fernando Arias, MD, a laparoscopic and oncological surgeon along with a local oncologist are offering a state-of-the art treatment; Cytoreductive Surgery with Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) at Fundacion Santa Fe de Bogota hospital here in Bogota. This treatment, which is offered at less than 25 sites worldwide, and only three sites in Latin America, is a new ray of hope for people with advanced abdominal cancers such as colon cancer, gynelogical cancers and digestive cancers.

Currently, the outlook for people with these conditions treated with conventional therapy is dismal; for patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis from colorectal cancer median survival time is six to eight months, with no five year survivors. HIPEC, which emerged over a decade ago shows promising results; research documents five-year survival rates varying from 25 to 70%. For the first time, some of these patients are hearing the word ‘cure’.

Dr Arias and his team have been performing this marathon surgical procedure, which involves surgical removal of gross disease with abdominal lavage of heated chemotherapy to kill residual cancer cells since 2009, with over thirty cases, so far. During an interview with Dr. Arias he explained his interest, saying, “I once sent a patient to the United States for this treatment, and when the patient came back, he asked, ‘Why didn’t you treat me?’ This led Dr. Arias to seek out additional training in New York that would enable him to treat patients here in Colombia. This is a gain of monumental proportions not just for Colombians, but for the burgeoning Colombian medical tourism industry, attracting patients from other countries who would be unable to afford or otherwise access this life-saving treatment.

Author / Source

Kristin Eckland




[email protected]


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