For stomach cancer, aerosol chemotherapy offers breath of hope
DIJON (News Lab) – “Classic chemotherapywas awful… but with this treatment, I feel hope,” says French pensioner Jacques Braud, who is undergoing treatment for stomach cancer with a new form of therapy dispersed by aerosol.
Several hours before going into theatre, Braud is waiting in his room, looking surprisingly relaxed with a book in hand.
This is a place he has been before. At the age of 76, Braud is about to face his second bout of chemotherapy after the cancer in his stomach spread to two other organs.
But this time it is different.
He is being treated at the Georges-Francois Leclerc hospital in the eastern city of Dijon, one of seven hospitals in France that are trialling pressurised intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy, or PIPAC, a technique developed in Germany in 2013.
Although is it still being tested, chemotherapy by aerosol has shown promising results against certain cancers, in a treatment with fewer side effects that offers hope to some of the weakest patients.
Unlike traditional chemotherapy, the drugs are not injected into the bloodstream.
Instead, the patient is put under general anaesthetic and the treatment introduced by laparoscopy, by which a small incision is made in the abdominal wall and the chemotherapy is introduced into the peritoneal cavity by an aerosol spray.