Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a form of cancer that targets the abdominal cavity lining. It is a less common type mesothelioma compared to pleural mesothelioma and comprises only about a third of all diagnosed mesothelioma cases. The latency period for peritoneal mesothelioma is also lower than the pleural form. The asbestos exposure related symptoms in peritoneal mesothelioma start appearing within 20 to 30 years, whereas for pleural mesothelioma, it varies from 20 to 50 years after the initial exposure to asbestos. Thus prognosis and subsequent treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma presents more encouraging results than other forms of mesothelioma.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

Clinical symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include, but are not limited to, abdominal pain, sudden weight loss, increasing abdominal girth, abdominal fluid accumulation, fever, and disturbance in the digestive system. In the later stages, the most prominent symptoms are bowel obstruction, blood clots, higher platelet count, anemia and reduced albumin levels. In many cases, the cancer has been incidentally detected when patients have sought medical help for other ailments such as hernia and gallbladder stones.

Peritoneal mesothelioma patients typically encounter these symptoms for about six months to two years before the diagnosis happens. The first signs of trouble become obvious only when patients come with another problem and a suspicious mass is discovered by the doctor during a medical examination.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Like most other mesotheliomas, the diagnosis for peritoneal mesothelioma can be tough. The initial step of diagnosis comprises a thorough physical examination and determining the patient's occupational history. If doctors do not seek information about asbestos exposure, it is important for the patient to mention it since asbestos history is one of the most important clues to channelize the diagnosis in the right direction.

The doctor will likely recommend a CT/CAT/MRI scan for establishing the clinical form of peritoneal mesothelioma between dry and wet. If excessive fluid is found in the abdominal cavity, it can be removed with a process termed paracentesis. Fluid analysis is not a very reliable diagnostic factor for peritoneal mesothelioma.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment

Multimodality treatment (a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy) is emerging as one of the preferred treatment options for tackling peritoneal mesothelioma. Cytoreductive surgery comprises removing of the entire tumor and may be combined with Hyperthermic Chemotherapy (IPHC), intraperitoneal chemotherapy and radiation.

Radiations are used for directly attacking the cancerous cells and the relieving the patient of the physical pain and abdominal swelling. Once the radiation process is completed, chemotherapy drugs and chemicals are inserted in the abdominal cavity to reduce the tumor's size. Surgery may then be used in the end to remove the leftover mass. Chemotherapy may or may not be repeated based on the patient's needs. In cases that are diagnosed earlier, this treatment plan may be implemented for effective results. Since there is no complete cure for the disease, these treatments are aimed more at managing the discomfort of the patient. Early detection is extremely important, so seek help immediately if you match the symptoms of mesothelioma.