ABOUT PERITONEAL MESOTHELIOMA: A FORM OF ABDOMINAL MESOTHELIOMA
Viewed as an asbestos related cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma, is the second most common type of mesothelioma, discovered at a rate of around 250 new cases a year, or in about 10-15% of all types of mesothelioma diagnoses.
Where Does Peritoneal Mesothelioma Occur?
Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the abdomen, on the surface of the omentum and visceral organs. Because of its relation to the abdomen, peritoneal mesothelioma is also often referred to as abdominal mesothelioma.
Linked to asbestos exposure, the disease is thought to develop when asbestos fibers become trapped in either the trachea or lungs, before eventually being passed into the peritoneum (abdomen).
As the disease develops around the abdominal lining, fluid accumulation occurs - which in turn leads to increased abdominal swelling.
Due to its long latency period, symptoms for abdominal mesothelioma often will not appear for several years after a patient is exposed to asbestos. On average, this latency period can occur anywhere from 25-40 years after the exposure occurs. Contact your healthcare professional immediately if you suspect that you may be experiencing any symptoms associated of mesothelioma.
With this type of mesothelioma, symptoms are a result of fluid accumulation and tumor expansion in and around the peritoneum (abdomen). This often results in the expansion of the abdomen. Other symptoms related to abdominal mesothelioma include:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Elevated white blood count
Please note that many of the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are often associated with other illnesses. For a more complete list of symptoms, see our Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms Page. Or contact the Meso Foundation’s Nurse Practitioner for expert help.
Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma often go undiagnosed until the disease is in its final stages. While treatment is mostly palliative and not curative, doctors and mesothelioma specialists can offer a number of treatment options in order to relieve symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma and possibly extend life expectancy.
- Peritoneal Surgery: Though not mostly not curative, extended survivals through surgery have been reported by a select group of surgeons who specialize in the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma
- Chemotherapy for Peritoneal: Studies have demonstrated that the most active regimen can reduce tumors in 40% of patients and extend life in those that respond to chemotherapy. While it is often no viewed as a curative option, chemotherapy has also been shown to have palliative effects, including reducing shortness of breath, reducing ascites or effusions, reducing pain and improving the quality of life
- Radiation for Peritoneal Mesothelioma: Radiation has proved to have limited effect as a primary treatment for peritoneal or abdominal mesothelioma. However, as a palliative treatment during and after surgery, it has proven useful in preventing malignant seeding of the incision sites
Please note that many of the signs and symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are often associated with other illnesses. Contact the Meso Foundation’s Nurse Practitioner for expert help.