Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a form of asbestos cancer that affects the peritoneum, or the thin membrane that lines the abdomen and the pelvic cavity.

Approximately, 20% of reported mesothelioma cases are diagnosed to be peritoneal mesothelioma. While this type of mesothelioma is still associated with exposure to asbestos, this cancer is the result of asbestos dust and particles which have been swallowed, unlike pleural mesothelioma, which is caused by the inhalation of particles. The particles are either swallowed directly, or travel through the trachea to the intestinal tract in mucus and finally become lodged in the peritoneum.

There are two types of peritoneal mesothelioma: benign and malignant. Benign mesothelioma, like most other cancers, is a non-cancerous tumor which can typically be removed through surgery. It is usually associated with some uncomfortable symptoms but is rarely life-threatening. On the other hand, malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is an extremely dangerous illness which is considered by medical professionals typically to be fatal. Additionally, peritoneal mesothelioma can be almost impossible to detect early unless through an abdominal or CT scan for other purposes. Because the symptoms often donít show up for decades after exposure, when symptoms are present, the patient has usually already reached the advanced stages of peritoneal mesothelioma.

Symptoms include:

  • weight loss,
  • abdominal pain,
  • fever,
  • pain,
  • constipation,
  • swelling,
  • weakness,
  • loss of appetite.

Additionally, the abdomen frequently appears distended due to the fluid build-up.

Peritoneal mesothelioma has no known cure, and typically the life expectancy of those with peritoneal mesothelioma is shorter than those with other forms of mesothelioma. However, there are some treatments that can help fight the disease. The success of these treatments depends on the stage of the cancer when diagnosed, the overall well being of the patient, the size and location of the tumors and the wishes of the patient. However, itís rare for this cancer to be diagnosed early, and as a result there is usually a very slight chance of totally treating cancerous cells.

The most common methodology for treating this cancer is chemotherapy and other drug-related treatments. Additionally, radiation and surgery are options your physician may consider to treat the cancer, depending on the stage of the cancer. It is important for all patients to explore every possible treatment option when deciding upon a plausible course for their treatment. More information is available upon request to aid you in your decision for your course of treatment.

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