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Home / Mesothelioma / Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Causes, Symptoms, Prognosis and Legal Help

Definition: Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the thin membrane that surrounds the abdomen, called the peritoneum.

Causes: Peritoneal mesothelioma can develop as a result of inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers.

Frequency: Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common form of asbestos-related cancer. It accounts for 15-20% of all mesothelioma cases, and nearly 500 people are diagnosed yearly with peritoneal mesothelioma in the United States.

Symptoms: Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms cover a wide range. It can begin harmless enough, closely resembling symptoms of the common flu. As the disease progresses, more severe symptoms emerge.

Stages: Although peritoneal mesothelioma doesn't have an official staging system, over the years, mesothelioma experts and researchers devised an unofficial staging system.

Diagnosis: Like other mesotheliomas, peritoneal mesothelioma is diagnosed via imaging scans and biopsies.

Treatments: Several treatment options that increase lifespan are available for patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma.

Prognosis: Prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma is far better than pleural mesothelioma, patients living up to four times longer. But prognosis also depends on other factors, such as the stage of the disease and age.

Mesothelioma life expectancy often ranges from about 6 to 21 months. However, there are many factors that contribute to life expectancy and each patient is unique. Through treatment and healthy habits some patients can outlive their prognosis significantly. The patient's overall health and age are also significant factors in the prognosis.

Legal Options: In many cases, Flint Law Firm can get compensation quickly (few short monthss) that can help with medical bills, copays, travel costs for treatment, and other unanticipated expenses.

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QUESTION 1: Who Is The Person Injured By Asbestos?

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Q1: Who Is The Person Injured By Asbestos?

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Causes

The only known cause of peritoneal mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. When ingested, asbestos fibers travel through the digestive system, and some of them end up in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen). Over time, these fibers irritate the cells and cause fluid buildups and tumor formation.

Asbestos fibers are extremely small and have the appearance of tiny needles. They can get stuck very easily within tissues and cause extreme damage over long periods of time.

Furthermore, asbestos fibers can travel through the body due to physical motion and the force of gravity, leading to the possibility of damage to other parts of the body as well.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

It can take anywhere from 15 to 50 years for peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms to start manifesting themselves. Once they do, they usually develop in the abdomen or gastrointestinal system.

Symptoms Include:

  • Abdominal Pain, Stomach ache
  • Swelling
  • Nausea
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weight Loss
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Fluid Accumulation in the Peritoneal Cavity
  • Appetite loss
  • Blood lumps
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Fever
  • Seating
  • Anemia
  • Seizures
  • Abdominal tissue lumps
  • Constipation

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Stages

An unofficial staging system has been created to help with diagnosing peritoneal mesothelioma. A total of three stages exist for peritoneal mesothelioma, with a fourth one that describes only extensive tumor spreading.

The stage of peritoneal mesothelioma dictates whether a patient can benefit from surgery or not. Early-stage patients qualify for more aggressive treatment plans, and late-stage patients can generally only benefit from palliative care and symptom management.

Stage 1

Stage 1 Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Stage 1 peritoneal mesothelioma is characterized by minimal cancerous tissue development, and tumors being contained within the peritoneum. At this stage, lymph nodes are not affected by cancer.

Stage 2

Stage 2 Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Stage 2 peritoneal mesothelioma is very similar to stage 1, the difference being that the mass of cancerous tissue is increased, as well as the size of tumors. Cancer has not yet started spreading outside of the abdominal lining.

Stage 3

Stage 3 Peritoneal Mesothelioma

At this stage, cancerous tissue is extensive, and tumors could have spread outside the lining of the abdomen, affecting nearby organs and tissues. Tumors may have also spread to adjacent lymph nodes.

Diagnosing Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Diagnosing Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Diagnosing peritoneal mesothelioma is similar to diagnosing other types of mesothelioma. The entire process starts with an extensive examination of the patient's medical and working history, as well as overall physical condition.

Since peritoneal mesothelioma is an extremely rare disease, it can easily be misdiagnosed. Which is why it is vital that patients mention any history of asbestos exposure, as this information can greatly help doctors by narrowing down possibilities.

If asbestos exposure is known to have occurred, doctors can properly continue the diagnosis process, which involves a series of imaging scans and biopsies. These test help determine the current stage of mesothelioma cancer and help doctors consider the best course of action to provide aid to the patient.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatments

Peritoneal mesothelioma has no known cure, but over the past years, many medical advancements have been made to help patients survive longer with the disease. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are the only ways to fight peritoneal mesothelioma.

A combination of a special surgical procedure and a form of chemotherapy shows the most promising results for peritoneal mesothelioma patients: cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). To qualify for this treatment combination, patients must be in an early stage of cancer and before it has started spreading beyond the abdomen. If successful, cytoreductive surgery paired with HIPEC can extend the life-span of patients by as much as 5 years.

01. Surgery

Surgery is viewed as the best method of treating peritoneal mesothelioma. The only drawback is that only early-stage patients can benefit from surgical procedures. Surgery can be employed to get rid of most or all tumors, in early stages, or only parts of tumors in late stages.

Cytoreductive Surgery

Cytoreductive surgery is an extremely complex, lengthy and difficult surgery meant for the complete removal of tumors in the peritoneum cavity. It can last up to 12 hours and is comprised of several smaller surgical procedures. Only highly specialized mesothelioma experts can perform this procedure effectively. Combined with HIPEC, this surgery shows the best results regarding treatment.

02. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can be used to slow the growth of tumors and overall cancer progression. Despite its side-effects, chemotherapy can help peritoneal mesothelioma patients outlive their initial prognosis.

Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC)

This chemotherapy procedure is done during the cytoreductive surgery. Once visible tumors are removed during the surgical process, a heated chemotherapy solution is delivered to the abdominal cavity. This process completely destroys remaining cancer cells.

03. Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy can be used for peritoneal mesothelioma patients, but many doctors would argue that the side-effects of radiation therapy in the abdominal area outweigh the benefits. That is because radiation therapy cannot be pinpointed to a very specific area. So, aiming radiation in this area can also damage nearby organs, such as the stomach and the liver.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis

Prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma patients depends on several different factors. Mesothelioma life expectancy often ranges from about 6 to 21 months. However, there are many factors that contribute to life expectancy and each patient is unique. Through treatment and healthy habits some patients can outlive their prognosis significantly. The patient's overall health and age are also significant factors in the prognosis.

It is worth noting that, although statistics are not very encouraging, every case is different, and prognoses may greatly vary. Furthermore, multiple medical advancements can help patients outlive their initial prognosis. In the case of peritoneal mesothelioma patients, the combination of cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC can often result in a considerable increase in longevity.

Diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma? Focus On Your Health!

In our experience, most of the peritoneal mesothelioma victims prefer to "get the legal stuff out of the way early" so that we can be working to protect all legal rights while you and your family are focusing on your health.

Mesothelioma treatment requires an immense financial effort. Our Experienced Mesothelioma Lawyers can get you the highest monetary compensation quickly (few short months) that can help with medical bills, copays, travel costs for treatment, and other unanticipated expenses.

Article Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1994863/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1234492/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818624/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5497105/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5292397/
  6. http://hipec.med.nyu.edu/physicians/your-patient-candidate
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