Cancer Killer - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Cancer Killer

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WSVN -- Tammy Rosamilia relies on the company of her best bud Suzie, her 10-year-old Golden Retriever.

Tammy Rosamilia, Patient: "We make a good team. I take care of her, she takes care of me."

The 53-year-old has needed someone to lean on. She's been battling cancer for the last seven years.

She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2004 after experiencing severe abdominal pain.

Tammy Rosamilia: "It spread from the colon to different places in the abdomen."

Since then, she's been through three surgeries and three rounds of chemotherapy.

Tammy Rosamilia: "All of the intravenous chemotherapy that I got wasn't getting rid of it. No matter what I did, it kept coming back."

The cancer recently came back again, so Tammy decided to try a new treatment at the UM/Sylvester Cancer Center called HIPEC.

It's a type of chemotherapy for abdominal cancers.

Dr. Mecker Moller, UM/Sylvester Cancer Center: "Basically a profusion of heated chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity. It's different in that it's not going through the vein. It's not going through the entire body."

Doctors first surgically remove the cancer. Then, the surgeon will start circulating a very hot chemotherapy drug throughout the abdominal cavity for about two hours.

Dr. Mecker Moller: "During that time, we are moving the patient in different positions to make sure all the chemotherapy gets to the entire area where the tumor was."

The HIPEC procedure is designed to kill any remaining cancer cells, and unlike regular chemo, it usually only takes one time.

Dr. Mecker Moller: "The high temperature increases the effect of the chemotherapy itself, so you're saving the patient the generalized side effects."

Dr. Moller says the treatment did the trick for Tammy.

Tammy Rosamilia: "She said to me, 'You are now cancer free'. Those are the best words I could ever hear."

And Tammy hopes she will never have to hear the cancer has returned again.

Tammy Rosamilia: "I hope this is the end of the line and I can go ahead and live my life now."

Christine Cruz: "More good news about this treatment: Doctors are starting to use it on ovarian cancer, which can be very hard to treat."

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