Peritoneal mesothelioma is a tumor of the peritoneum membrane. This thin membrane of mesothelial cells surrounds and protects many of the organs in the abdomen. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of peritoneal mesothelioma in the U.S. However, it can take decades before initial symptoms of this disease appear. Peritoneal Mesothelioma accounts for about one-fifth of all mesotheliomas diagnosed in the US each year.
While peritoneal mesotheliomas are less common than pleural mesotheliomas,
they tend to be more invasive, and thus often result in a shorter life expectancy
for the patient. Mesotheliomas have also been found in the stomach and other
Like all cancers, peritoneal mesothelioma can be either benign or malignant. Even though symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma take years to develop, it is sometimes diagnosed by mere coincidence and before any symptoms actually appeared.
Typical symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include abdominal pains, weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal swelling. Sometimes fluid accumulates in the peritoneal space, which results in a condition known as Ascites. Most often than none, the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma start of gradually, but over time the symptoms can become more and more severe.
Although the first step towards detecting peritoneal mesothelioma involve X-rays and CT scans, a definitive diagnosis is only achieved through a biopsy, which usually involves removing a tiny piece of tissue. However, this is generally only done if the doctor finds an abnormality when viewing the peritoneum using a precedure called peritoneoscopy. The tissue sample is then examined by a pathologist who makes a diagnosis using microscopic analysis of specialized stains
At this time, even though there are various treatment options available, there is no 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, an early diagnosis is important and because of it relief and treatment of people with peritoneal mesothelioma have improved dramatically.
Some of the treatments currently available for peritoneal mesothelioma include: