IP Chemotherapy for Ovarian Cancer

 
About This Treatment

Intraperitoneal, or IP chemotherapy, is a treatment for ovarian cancer where chemotherapy is put inside your abdomen. This treatment may or may not be combined with chemotherapy that is given in your vein (IV). A port will be placed under your skin and over your ribs to give this chemotherapy into your abdomen.

During an IP chemotherapy treatment, you will lie flat on a bed while chemotherapy runs into your abdomen over a few hours.

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • This drug may affect how your kidneys work. Your kidney function will be checked as needed.
  • Electrolyte changes. Your blood will be checked for electrolyte changes as needed.
  • Effects on the nerves are called peripheral neuropathy. You may feel numbness or pain in your hands and feet. It may be hard for you to button your clothes, open jars, or walk as usual. The effect on the nerves may get worse with more doses of the drug. These effects get better in some people after the drug is stopped, but it does not get better in all people.
  • High-frequency hearing loss may occur. You will get IV fluids before and during the infusion to help prevent this. You may also get ringing in the ears.
  • Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may raise your risk of infection, make you tired and weak (fatigue), and raise your risk of bleeding.
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting). These symptoms may happen within a few hours after your treatment and may last for a few days to a week. Medicines are available to stop or lessen these side effects.
  • Hair loss. You may notice your hair getting thin. Some patients lose their hair. Your hair often grows back when treatment is done.

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight
  • Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that hurt.
  • Flu-like symptoms: fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and fatigue (low energy, feeling weak)
  • Nail problems: changes in color, thinning, brittleness, or loss of the nail
  • Skin and tissue irritation may include redness, pain, warmth, or swelling at the IV site. This happens if the drug leaks out of the vein and into nearby tissue.

Allergic Reactions

Serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis are rare.  While you are getting these drugs in your vein (IV), tell your nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms of an allergic reaction:

  • trouble catching your breath
  • feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling
  • feeling your heart beat quickly  or in a not normal way (palpitations)
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • flushing, itching, rash, and/or hives

Treating Side Effects

  • Drink 6-8 cups of fluids each day unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake due to some other health problem. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you throw up or have loose bowel movements you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body due to losing too much fluid).
  • If you have numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, be careful when cooking, walking, and handling sharp objects and hot liquids.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help stop or lessen fever, headache, back, muscle, and joint aches.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help stop or lessen nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, nasal congestion and/or sinus symptoms.
  • If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.
  • During the IV infusion please tell your nurse right away if you get any pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the IV infusion.
  • Talk with your nurse about getting a wig before you lose your hair.  Also, call the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345 to find out information about the “Look Good, Feel Better” program close to where you live. It is a free program where women getting chemotherapy can learn about wigs, turbans and scarves as well as makeup techniques and skin and nail care.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of these drugs with food. These drugs may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's help.

Important Instructions

Let your doctor know if you have had any recent vaccinations. Talk to your doctor before getting vaccines during or after treatment with these drugs.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Rash or itching
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) more than 4 times a day or diarrhea with weakness or lightheadedness
  • Pain when passing urine; blood in urine
  • Pain in your lower back or side
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if any of these symptoms happen:

  • Change in hearing, ringing in the ears
  • Decreased urine
  • Nausea that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Heavy menstrual period that lasts longer than normal
  • Numbness, tingling, decreased feeling or weakness in fingers, toes, arms, or legs
  • Trouble walking or changes in the way you walk, feeling clumsy when buttoning clothes, opening jars, or other routine hand motions
  • Swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
  • Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
  • Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
  • Headache that does not go away
  • No bowel movement for 3 days or you feel uncomfortable
  • Extreme weakness that interferes with normal activities

Sexual Problems and Reproduction Concerns

  • Sexual problems and reproduction concerns may happen. In men and women both, these drugs may affect your ability to have children. This cannot be determined before your therapy. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.
  • Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment.
  • Breast feeding warning: Women should not breast feed during treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.
  • Genetic counseling is available for you to talk about the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. Also, a genetic counselor can look at the possible risk of problems in the unborn baby due to this medicine if an exposure happens during pregnancy.

Reviewed November 2014

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