HIPEC Surgery in Turkey: Is It Safe?

Even though the combination of Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC (Hyperthermic Chemotherapy) is an aggressive surgery, sometimes it’s the only hope left to the patients, especially the ones who have tried different chemotherapeutic agents yet still are dealing with advanced stages of abdominal cancer and peritoneal tumors. This abdominal surgery is performed with the aim of killing all the cancer cells, both the invisible and visible tumors.

One of the major concerns of cancer patients is whether this expensive procedure is worth all the pain and money. If you’ve made your decision to undergo HIPEC and cytoreductive surgery but can’t afford its high cost, there are still ways to do it in a standard condition but for a lower price. One of them is medical tourism and Turkey’s fame in medical tourism has made it a popular center for cancer patients as well.

What you should know is first and foremost your eligibility for a HIPEC procedure. Second of all, is Turkey a really safe place to do the process? And last but not least, is HIPEC surgery in Turkey a beneficial or risky treatment for you?

Is HIPEC a Cost-Effective Procedure?

Of all the treatment methods for cancer, this intraperitoneal chemotherapy has been proven to be more cost-effective and successful in eliminating cancerous cells in comparison with other treatment types such as palliative chemotherapy. 

According to a study, the average cost of CRS and HIPEC is almost S$83,680.26 for each patient. Moreover, the overall duration of median survival of patients was 47 months. For patients who experienced Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC, the calculated cost per life-year was S$21,365.19 per life year. This number is almost S$44,478.87 for patients who undergo palliative chemotherapy. Their overall median survival was months.

In general, the cost of each session of intravenous chemotherapy and long-term systemic chemotherapy might be cheaper, but the overall costs, in the long run, will be more

What Types of Cancers Are Treated with HIPEC in Turkey?

CRS and HIPEC procedures are done in Turkey following the same surgical procedures in other countries. You can read more about the details of this process and watch videos of it in our article about HIPEC cancer treatment

In Turkey, this surgery is performed to treat different types of peritoneal cancer including ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, and other types of abdominal cancers. However, they’re not for everyone and proper patient selection is done by a team of surgeons. 

Why Is HIPEC cheaper in Turkey?

The difference in HIPEC cost in Turkey and other countries has one major logical reason: the lower cost of life in Turkey which causes the costs of surgery to be was lower. 

For example, even though surgeons are among the high-paid professionals in Turkey, as well as other countries, the salaries of a surgical team that is responsible for the process are still lower than in the US or Europe. 

Except for the surgical equipment, if you calculate the other costs of medical centers and hospitals in Turkey, including human resources and the costs for keeping the hospitals up and running, and then calculate the sum of that in dollars, you’ll see the difference. 

But some people might think the reason for this low price is that the quality of medical care in Turkey is not the same as in developed countries. But the truth is vice versa. 

Are Hospitals in Turkey Credible and Qualified?

Turkey has 46 JCI accredited hospitals, 29 of which are in Istanbul, and a handful of standard medical centers. Because of the popularity of medical tourism in Turkey, accepting foreign patients and providing them with quality medical services is not a new thing. Patient safety, especially for the ones that are miles away from their own countries or cities, beholds great importance. 

According to the numbers announced by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, on average, each year 1 million and 700 thousand people travel to Turkey for medical purposes. The two major reasons for the popularity of Turkey among medical tourists are the affordable price and the high quality of health care services in addition to the expertise of Turkish surgeons. 

Is There Any Additional Cost?

Generally, traveling with the purpose of using medical services in another country means you have to pay additional costs such as a plane ticket. However, the difference between the medical costs in your country and the destination country is sometimes so noticeable that these additional costs are nothing. 

Medical tourism is not a new trend in Turkey. Medical centers have been accepting patients from all around the world for a long time. As a result, there are all-inclusive medical packages that minimize the non-medical costs for the patients. These packages include transportation, accommodation, translation services, medical tests before and after the procedure, and so on. 

When talking to a medical center and asking for their price, make sure to ask exactly what this price includes. Then, you can make a better decision. 

But the significant point about undergoing HIPEC surgery in Turkey is not the cost, but whether you’re eligible for this procedure, especially in Turkey or not. 

Am I Eligible for HIPEC in Turkey?

Unfortunately, there’s no fixed, easy answer to that. This palliative surgery is mainly for patients who are dealing with advanced stages of abdominal cancer and have no other treatment options. But having these circumstances does not necessarily make you a qualified candidate for CRS and HIPEC.

After finding your surgeon, a team of doctors and surgeons should thoroughly assess your medical case including your tests, conditions, previous cancer treatments, and surgical oncology attempts. Making the proper decision might take one or a few long consultation meetings and then you will be informed of the result.  

If you’re among high-risk patients, your surgeon will tell you your survival rate and what the best decision is. In some cases, medical tourism makes the management of complications difficult, especially when you’re back in your own country. This factor is highly effective in your progress and survival rate after the surgery. After all, the postoperative complications are not just a few because almost all parts of your abdominal organs might be affected. 

The evaluation of patients for surgery must be done carefully and from all aspects using prospective studies, which is why a team of surgeons makes this decision. 

Mortality Rates of CRS and HIPEC in Turkey

Is the survival rate of HIPEC surgery in Turkey higher than in other countries? Is my chance of waking up after the surgery lower in Turkey? Any patient who is researching this procedure in Turkey has these questions. The answer is no. The death rate of HIPEC surgery in Turkey does not differ from other countries because only patients who are eligible to have the procedure in another country and can stay in Turkey for at least two weeks are accepted by Turkish surgeons. 

Let’s have a review of the general mortality rates of HIPEC. This surgical process is an invasive one, hence the associated morbidity rates are high. However, according to reports, the survival rate of selected patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis in these reports was high as well. 

Reports of a single institution in Japan reveal hopeful results on procedures performed on patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC) from colon cancer and gastric cancer and ovarian cancer patients. The mortality rate of these patients was 3.5% and reoperation was necessary in 11% of the cases. 

The significant point is that HIPEC noticeably reduced postoperative complications. 

HIPEC Surgery Cost

Because of the sensitivity of the procedure and its difficulty, HIPEC is amongst the most expensive surgical procedures in the world. In most European countries and the US, the price of CRS and HIPEC is on average 80,000$. Below is a list of the average cost of CRS and HIPEC all around the world. 

Finland: 89,000 $

Russia: 87,000 $

England: 85,000 $

Denmark: 83,000 $

Estonia: 83,000 $

Germany: 80,000 $

America: 80,000$

Italy: 78,000 $

Poland: 77,000 $

France: 75,000 $

Ireland: 75,000 $

Lithuania: 70,000 $

Mexico: 45,000 $

India: 43,000 $

Turkey: 30,000 $

As you see, the price of HIPEC is not affordable to many patients. Even if your insurance pays for it, there’s a chance they will not cover all the costs, which is why many patients consider medical tourism as a serious alternative. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team! 🙂 

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