Peritoneal mesothelioma is said to comprise an estimated 20 percent of mesothelioma cases worldwide. This type is also referred to as abdominal mesothelioma because it affects the lining of the abdomen.
Peritoneal mesothelioma, like other forms, is caused by asbestos exposure. However, there is yet to be one set theory as to why some cases of mesothelioma cancer develop in the abdomen as opposed to the lungs. Some have proposed that transportation via the lymphatic system is the cause, while others suggest that it is due to the swallowing or ingestion of asbestos fibers.
Mesothelioma in the peritoneum, or lining of the abdominal cavity, can be identified by the presence of several symptoms including fluid in the abdomen, swelling and inflammation, tumors, nausea, anemia, trouble breathing, and other complications. In more advanced stages of the disease, tumors spread throughout the abdominal cavity. Unfortunately, many related symptoms could lead to misdiagnosis of one’s disease due to their relation to other serious health conditions as well. It is important that patients disclose occupational and in some cases residential information along with medical history if one has been exposed to asbestos, so that they may obtain the most accurate and timely diagnosis possible.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may take up to forty years or more to become noticeable. Although asbestos is known to be the cause of this kind of disease, pinpointing how or where a patient may have been exposed can be difficult due to the lengthy time frame between contact with asbestos fibers and diagnosis. The latency period also often contributes to a poor prognosis, because a determination that one has the disease typically is not made until there is significant progression of the condition.
Treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma is dependent on one’s individual case. Options may include chemotherapy, surgery, combination therapies, and other treatments.