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My MOAS explained

Dave researched his cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC

Susan Oliver, Chair, Pseudomyxoma Survivor

Introducing Dave’s explanation of the components of his cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC which provides a valuable insight into what these procedures involve. Cytoreductive surgery is a complex procedure that involves removing all visible tumours in the abdominal area, as well as any affected organs or tissues. This is followed by the administration of HIPEC, or heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy, which involves circulating a heated chemotherapy solution throughout the abdominal cavity in order to kill any remaining cancer cells. Together, these procedures can be highly effective in treating pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) and other forms of cancer that have spread to the abdominal region. Understanding the components of these procedures is important for patients and their families, as it can help to alleviate fears and provide a better understanding of what to expect during treatment. Now over to Dave…

Dave Mason, pseudomyxoma peritonei survivor

It’s taken me around a year to write this page and the one that follows. I “ummed” and I “ahhhhhed” over how useful I thought it might be to those of us that have been through the cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) and those who may be newly diagnosed and about to face the surgery. I didn’t want to scare anyone who may be about to undergo the surgery or put them in fear of what they might be about to face. I have always tried to be honest with my posts to make them both informative but always with an eye not to scare.

By nature I’m an inquisitive person. I like to know the detail. So equally I figured that there are probably many people out there just like me who also wanted to understand as best they could the procedures that make up the operation and fully appreciate why it’s earned the term “Mother Of All Surgeries” (MOAS) amongst patients.

When I was discharged, I was given my discharge papers and a copy of the letter sent to my GP. In that letter was a description of the cytoreductive surgery that I underwent and in medical jargon the components that made up the surgical procedure. It was a whole different language, what did it mean?  I was in awe of the extensive list but also curious. What really happened to me in the 12 hours I spent in theatre when the “lights were out”?

In the page that follows I have attempted to unravel the technical medical jargon into something that the average person would understand and appreciate. I have avoided the use of photographs but have included some diagrams. I must make clear that this is my MOAS and that each one of us is different with the disease manifesting itself in different ways. This therefore requires a different surgical approach and my procedure may well differ from those that other people undergo. But it will paint a picture.

So this next page comes with a health warning⚠️ If like me you are inquisitive and want to understand more about the procedure then read on. It is a real eye opener and has made me appreciate just what goes on in the theatre on operation day. I always thought the surgical teams were amazing people but this really does make you appreciate just how amazing they are. It also made me appreciate just how resilient the human body is and its incredible ability to cope with such radical surgery.

If you don’t choose to read on then that’s fine, I’m not offended but just know that the surgical teams that do the operations and the teams that subsequently get us patients through our recovery really do work magic and we are in debt to them all.


~ Dave

Written: Susan Oliver and David Mason
Updated: 20th April 2023