Group of surgeons takes on 'impossible' cases

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by JEAN ENERSEN / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on March 31, 2010 at 5:57 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

Allen has a need for speed. He turned his passion into a career. He was about to get in the cockpit for a 15-hour flight to China when he felt a pain in his side.

"We have an infirmary at the airport, and they examined me," he said.

It turned out to be cancer, which spread from his appendix to the membrane that lines the abdomen or peritoneum. Doctors say when this happens, the cancer ends up smothering all of the organs.

"They closed me up and sent me home: 'We can't fix you, sir. Have a good day,'" he said.

That's when he found Dr. Armando Sardi, Director of the Institute for Cancer Care at Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, MD.

Dr. Sardi performs a risky 12-hour operation to save those sent home to die.

"This is an operation and a treatment that has the potential for anything you can imagine, but the alternative is death," he said.

Surgeons make a 15-inch incision and remove as much of the tumor as possible.

"We start cleaning, organ by organ," said Dr. Sardi.

Then they use heated chemo to kill the rest. It's circulated through the abdomen for 90 minutes then washed out.

"The heat alone kills cancer cells but also enhances the effect of chemotherapy," said Dr. Sardi.

It's used to treat appendix, colon, gastric and ovarian cancers that have spread.

"To hear that I could be cured was like, I can do this. I'm only 43 years old. I do have the rest of my life," said Kyle.

The recovery is brutal.

"I was alive, that's the main thing. I woke up," said Kyle.

A year and a half later, Kyle's cancer-free, and relishing his second chance.

Dr. Sardi has performed more than 100 surgeries and only one patient has died during the procedure.

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