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Appendix cancer treatment recommendations are generally based on several unique factors, including the type, size and stage of a tumor and a patient’s age, overall health and preferences. Because this rare form of cancer is usually slow-growing, it can often be treated successfully with surgery to remove all or the majority of cancerous cells. In some cases, chemotherapy may be recommended prior to surgery to destroy cancerous cells and shrink a tumor, as a main form of treatment if surgery is not possible or after surgery to target any remaining cancer cells. While radiation therapy is rarely used for appendix cancer treatment, it may be used to treat a particular area of cancer spread or to help manage symptoms.

Appendix cancer surgery options

The surgeons in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center perform the following types of surgery for appendix cancer treatment:

  • Appendectomy – Surgical removal of the appendix is usually the only treatment necessary for a carcinoid tumor that measures less than 1.5 centimeters in diameter. If appendix carcinoid cancer is found unexpectedly during an appendectomy performed to treat suspected appendicitis, a second procedure may be recommended to remove more tissue.
  • Hemicolectomy – Surgical removal of a portion of the colon near the appendix, along with nearby lymph nodes and blood vessels, may be recommended to address non-carcinoid appendix cancer or a carcinoid tumor that measures more than 2 centimeters in diameter. Usually, this operation does not result in the need for a colostomy or stoma.
  • Debulking surgery – Cytoreduction, or debulking surgery, may be recommended to treat late-state appendix cancer by removing as much of the tumor “bulk” as possible. Sometimes, the procedure is followed by chemotherapy to destroy residual cancer cells.
  • Peritonectomy – For slow-growing, low-grade appendix cancer that has spread beyond the colon to other areas of the abdomen, sometimes aggressive surgery is recommended, including the removal of the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen).

At Moffitt, our renowned research team is continually evaluating new treatments for appendiceal cancer. Through our robust clinical trials program, our patients have opportunities to be among the first to benefit from promising new forms of appendix cancer treatment, including advanced surgical techniques. As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt has received national recognition for its work to advance the treatment of appendiceal cancer and other forms of cancer.

If you are interested in receiving treatment for appendix cancer at Moffitt, our specialists can recommend and develop the best plan for you. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. We do not require referrals.