Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the lining of the abdominal area, the peritoneum. Although a rare form of cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma is still the No. 2 most common form of mesothelioma. It occurs when asbestos fibers or dust are inhaled and become lodged in the lungs or lymph nodes. The fibers can make their way into the abdominal area through the lungs and the lymph nodes. Peritoneal mesothelioma also occurs when asbestos fibers are ingested. Through the digestion process, fibers become lodged in the peritoneum.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms
In many cases, symptoms do not appear until the advanced stages of the disease. However, it is not impossible to detect peritoneal mesothelioma in its beginning stages, as some patients show symptoms early on. Such symptoms include abdominal pain and swelling, unexplained weight loss, and lumps of tissue in the abdomen.
Because these symptoms may indicate other conditions, it is important to tell your doctor if you think you have been exposed to asbestos. That way, you can ensure you get the correct treatment as early as possible.
Diagnosis and Treatment
To diagnose your condition, your doctor will take a history of your symptoms. He or she will also give you a full examination and take fluid and tissue samples. The doctor will order necessary tests, too, such as a chest x-ray, CT scan of your abdomen and chest, an MRI (magnetic resonance image), and a PET (positron emission tomography).
There is no cure for peritoneal mesothelioma, but there are treatments that will make you more comfortable and prolong your life. These treatments include radiation and chemotherapy and may be used together. When mesothelioma is caught early, surgery may be a possibility.
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