As one of the nation’s top ranked cancer centers, we see more patients with this complex type of cancer than most others. This gives us an extraordinary level of expertise and experience.
Our renowned surgeons are among the most recognized in the country and perform more appendix cancer procedures in a year than many cancer surgeons do in a lifetime. Our medical oncology team specializes in formulating individualized treatment plans using state-of-the-art systemic treatments and targeted therapies, along with clinical trials.
If you are diagnosed with appendix cancer, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including:
- The type of tumor
- Where it is in the appendix
- If it has spread
- Your overall health
Your treatment for appendix cancer will be customized to your particular needs. One or more of the following therapies may be recommended to treat the cancer or help relieve symptoms.
Surgery is the main treatment for appendix cancer. The type of surgery depends on the type of appendix cancer.
Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs): Often a surgery called a right hemicolectomy is done to remove the appendix, right colon and surrounding lymph nodes. If the tumor has not spread, surgery alone may be enough treatment. For more information, see neuroendocrine tumors.
Adenocarcinoma tumors: Treatment may include all of the following:
- Removal of the right part of the colon
- Cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC
- Chemotherapy before surgery
Pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP): Surgical removal of the tumor (also called cytoreduction), combined with HIPEC, is usually recommended.
In some cases, surgery may be combined with chemotherapy, which uses specific drugs to attack fast-growing tumor cells.
If appendix cancer has spread within the abdomen, the most effective approach usually involves cytoreductive (tumor debulking) surgery to remove the tumor and mucin in the abdomen. Parts of the intestine, gallbladder, ovaries, uterus and lining of the abdominal cavity may be removed.
Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), also known as heated chemotherapy, is performed during tumor debulking surgery. The abdominal cavity is filled with a chemotherapy drug that is heated to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The abdomen is rocked gently back and forth for 90 minutes to ensure the drugs go to all areas of the abdominal cavity. This allows the chemotherapy drugs to reach tumor cells that the surgeon may not be able to see.
Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells, control their growth or relieve disease-related symptoms. Chemotherapy may involve a single drug or a combination of two or more drugs, depending on the type of cancer and how fast it is growing.
The medical and surgical oncology care teams will collaborate to determine the right type of chemotherapy for each patient.
MD Anderson offers a diverse group of clinical trials to serve the needs of our appendix cancer patients who have limited treatment options. Your care team may recommend clinical trials if appropriate. Genetic profiling is offered to patients to determine which clinical trials may benefit them.