Peritoneal Mesothelioma Information
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a malignancy that targets the lining of the abdomen. This form of cancer, like pleural mesothelioma, is mostly a result of exposure to asbestos. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining that guards the abdomen's insides, and which also gives a lubricating fluid that facilitates the smooth movement and functioning of the organs.
This disease is also called diffuse peritoneal mesothelioma, particularly when the cancer has branched out. It accounts for about a tenth of all mesothelioma patients, and is the second most common after pleural mesothelioma.
There are a number of symptoms of this disease. Similar to other mesothelioma diseases, the latency period is long, and symptoms remain dormant for decades after initial exposure. By the time the symptoms become conspicuous, it may be too late. Furthermore, if your doctor is not aware of your previous exposure to asbestos, then he may treat you for different ailments.
The most common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are weight loss; nausea; abdominal pains and weakness; lack of appetite; bowel obstruction; and abdominal swelling. Problems such as shortness of breath and extreme pain can also be experienced.
Treatment for this form of mesothelioma is dependent on a number of factors, such as the amount of the cancer and the patient's general health, age and past medical history.
Surgery is one conventional option of treating peritoneal mesothelioma. This involves taking out portions of the abdomen's lining in order to remove the tumor. Surgery also depends largely on the age of the patient and the amount to which the cancer has spread. Sometimes, it becomes imperative to take out a part of the diaphragm, so as to facilitate the easy removal of the tumor.
In radiation therapy, high-energy x-rays are deployed to shrink the size of the tumor or kill off malignant cells. Radiation therapy can be approached in two ways. One is the external method, where radiation is emitted through the body from a machine placed outside. The second method is by emitting radiation directly to the malignant area through plastic tubes.
Chemotherapy is doubtless the most common and well-known method of combating cancer. Here, a combination of drugs – through tablets or needles – is used to kill malignant cells.