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Home > Types of mesothelioma > Peritoneal mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdomen, or peritoneum and is the second most common form of mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of the serous membranes. These membranes enclose a number of organs throughout the midsection of the body, including the abdomen. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the serous membranes of the lungs.

One of the major problems in diagnosing patients with this cancer is that the early symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma often resemble those of the flu, with stomach pains, and fever. Many peritoneal mesothelioma victims do not realize that there may be something severely wrong until the peritoneal mesothelioma tumors cause severe abdominal swelling. In some cases, the pressure created by peritoneal mesothelioma on internal organs can also cause an extreme amount of pain.

X-rays and CT scans are, typically, the first step towards detecting peritoneal mesothelioma. Though the actual diagnosis is achieved by obtaining a piece of tissue from the victim’s body. Presently, there are treatments, but no for sure known cure, for peritoneal mesothelioma. The prognosis depends on various factors, including the size and stage of the tumor, its extent, the cell type, and whether or not the tumor responds to treatment. However, the options for relief and treatment of people with peritoneal mesothelioma have opened up, especially for those whose cancer is diagnosed early and treated vigorously.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

As cancerous tumors start to grow in the peritoneum, fluid begins to quickly accumulate in the abdominal area. The fluid causes swelling and discomfort and leads to the first common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma - upper abdominal pain. Less common symptoms include cough and shortness of breath and many patients have symptoms 4 to 6 months before being diagnosed.

Abdominal pains, abdominal weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal swelling are all abdominal mesothelioma symptoms. Patients exhibiting these symptoms are usually scheduled for further examinations to search for other abdominal mesothelioma signs. If an X-ray or CT scan indicates signs that the patient indeed may have abdominal mesothelioma, a biopsy is conducted, allowing the physician to determine the malignancy level.

Any abdominal mesothelioma treatment will be determined by the physician and patient, taking into account the stage of the abdominal mesothelioma, the location and sizes of any tumors, and the age and health of the patient. Abdominal mesothelioma has a very high mortality rate, and in many cases, diagnosis occurs when the abdominal mesothelioma has already progressed too far. In such cases, all actions focus on making the abdominal mesothelioma as comfortable as possible, often removing portions of the tumor to relieve pressure.

Once this type of Mesothelioma is diagnosed, treatment options will be discussed. While there is currently no cure for this disease, the patient can be treated in a variety of ways to help ease symptoms, reduce pain, and prolong life.

Specific types of treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy

Surgery - the surgery performed for peritoneal Mesothelioma may involve cutting out part of the lining and tissue from the abdominal area in order to remove the tumor. If the tumor is particularly large, a lung or a section of the diaphragm may need to be removed as well. Because this type of cancer is so often diagnosed in its late stages, surgery may not be an option as the cancer has already spread too much by this point.

Chemotherapy - the use of intra-peritoneal chemotherapy is often recommended to patients with peritoneal Mesothelioma. This involves the infusion of chemotherapy drugs directly into the abdominal cavity. It can be used after surgery or on its own.

Although peritoneal Mesothelioma is not the most prevalent form of asbestos-related cancer, it is indeed a serious problem and many people die each year from the disease. If you, a friend, or a loved one has been diagnosed with this or any other type of asbestos-related cancer, learn about your options and rights by ordering our free Mesothelioma Resource Kit, full of information on the disease, its treatments, and the legal options of an asbestos-related cancer victim.

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