There are four main types of mesothelioma: pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular. Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common site for this aggressive cancer.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen, known as the peritoneum. It is a rare and aggressive cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos fibres, which can become lodged in the lining of the abdomen and cause damage over time.
The cancer cells can spread to other organs in the abdomen, including the liver and intestines, and can also spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system.
Here are 10 things you should know about peritoneal mesothelioma:
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma
The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma can vary but typically include abdominal pain, swelling or fluid buildup in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, weight loss, and fatigue. These symptoms may be mistaken for other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome or ovarian cancer, which can make diagnosis challenging.
Diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma
Diagnosing peritoneal mesothelioma typically involves a combination of imaging tests, such as CT scans or MRI, and biopsy. The biopsy involves removing a small sample of tissue from the lining of the abdomen for analysis. A definitive diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma can be challenging because cancer can resemble other types of cancer.
Treatment options for peritoneal mesothelioma
Treatment options for peritoneal mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. A combination of these treatments may be used, depending on the stage of cancer and other factors. Surgery to remove the cancerous tissue and chemotherapy delivered directly to the abdomen are often used in combination to treat peritoneal mesothelioma.
The prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma
The prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma is generally poor, with a median survival of around one year. However, advances in treatment have improved survival rates for some patients. It’s important to note that each case is unique, and prognosis can vary depending on factors such as the stage of the cancer and the patient’s overall health.
Causes of peritoneal mesothelioma
Peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, which was commonly used in building materials and industrial applications in the past. Asbestos fibres can become trapped in the lining of the abdomen, leading to damage and the development of cancer over time.
Risk factors for peritoneal mesothelioma
The primary risk factor for peritoneal mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. The risk is highest for individuals who worked in industries that used asbestos, such as construction or shipbuilding. It’s also possible for family members of workers who were exposed to asbestos to develop mesothelioma, as the fibres can be carried home on clothing and other items.
Prevention of peritoneal mesothelioma
The best way to prevent peritoneal mesothelioma is to avoid exposure to asbestos. This may involve taking precautions in the workplace, such as wearing protective clothing and using proper ventilation. It’s also important to avoid disturbing materials that may contain asbestos, such as insulation or ceiling tiles.
Legal options for individuals with peritoneal mesothelioma
Individuals who have been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos may be eligible for compensation through legal action. This can include filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the asbestos-containing products or filing a claim with an asbestos trust fund. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can help individuals understand their legal options and navigate the complex process of pursuing compensation.
Support for individuals with peritoneal mesothelioma
Peritoneal mesothelioma can be a challenging diagnosis, but there are resources available to provide support and assistance. Mesothelioma support groups, such as those offered by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, can provide a sense of community and connection for individuals and families affected by mesothelioma. In addition, organizations like the American Cancer Society can offer information and resources on mesothelioma treatment and support.
Ongoing research on peritoneal mesothelioma
Researchers are continually working to better understand peritoneal mesothelioma and develop new treatments. Clinical trials are ongoing to test new drugs and therapies and advances in immunotherapy and targeted therapies show promise in improving outcomes for patients.
By participating in clinical trials and staying up-to-date on the latest research, patients with peritoneal mesothelioma can access cutting-edge treatments and help advance the field of mesothelioma research.
Living with peritoneal mesothelioma
The frustrating thing about peritoneal mesothelioma is that the cancer is often undetectable until it has spread. And while there is no known cure, there are some ways to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.
Make sure you’re in constant communication with your doctors (and don’t be afraid to get multiple opinions).
David Radar, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.