Appendix cancer is a rare cancer that affects both men and women. Risk factors and causes of appendix cancer are presently unknown. Appendix cancer frequently spreads to the lymph nodes and the lining of abdominal cavity (peritoneum). Often, patients have hundreds of small tumors throughout the abdomen. As a result, some patients may develop a large amount of thick fluid (ascites) within the abdomen.
The treatment options for patients with appendix cancer are often limited. In recent years, cytoreduction surgery combined with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) has been used to treat patients with advanced appendix cancer. For this treatment, patients undergo surgery to remove all the tumors, and then HIPEC is administered to treat any residual microscopic cancer. The surgical oncologists at the University of Minnesota have been performing HIPEC for more than 10 years and have published several research studies on this treatment.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota are actively studying the potential causes and risk factors of appendix cancer through the Betti Boers Maloney Appendix Cancer Research Fund. In addition, patients with appendix cancer and their families have established a Twin Cities support group to help patients with this difficult disease.