Patient Stories

More Time to Be a Dad

More Time to Be a Dad

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Corey’s Chemotherapy for Abdominal Cancer

Corey, a stay-at-home father caring for his four year old daughter, was in the process of looking for a job when he was diagnosed with cancer. After months of chemotherapy, Corey’s appendix exploded, releasing cancerous tissue throughout his abdomen.

Ryan Merkow, MD, MS, surgical oncologist, was new to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Corey was one of the first patients he saw. Dr. Merkow suggested that Corey undergo an innovative treatment approach called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), which directly targets advanced abdominal cancers. This procedure had never before been performed at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Merkow and his team removed the cancerous nodules in Corey’s abdomen and then flushed the abdomen with a chemotherapy solution heated to 42 degrees Celsius. The solution was circulated throughout Corey’s abdomen for approximately 90 minutes. The team then drained the abdomen and closed the incision.

“It’s sort of a washing of the abdomen with this heated chemotherapy to clear all the residual disease or any residual disease that we can’t see with our human eye,” explains Dr. Merkow.

One month after Corey’s HIPEC treatment, he showed no signs of cancer.

Now, Corey says, he’s slowing down and trying to enjoy life more. The stay-at-home father says he has a new outlook on life, and he’s concentrating on his well-being, his relationship with his wife — and being a dad.

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