What is peritoneal mesothelioma?

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a type of cancer linked to asbestos exposure that develops in the lining of the abdominal cavity. This form of the disease is also known as abdominal mesothelioma. The pleural form of the illness affects the lining of the lungs and is the most common type of mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for 15 to 20 percent of diagnoses, making it the second-most common type.

What are the causes of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma?

Long-term asbestos exposure is the only known cause of peritoneal mesothelioma. Asbestos is known to reach the abdomen by one of two different methods: ingestion or inhalation. Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura metastasizes directly to the abdominal cavity if it is not detected and treated to slow progression of the disease.

What are the symptoms of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma?

Symptoms of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma are similar to those of pleural mesothelioma. These symptoms can take years to surface, making early diagnosis extremely difficult. In most cases, the time between asbestos exposure and detection of peritoneal mesothelioma can take anywhere from 10 to 60 years. It is difficult to diagnosis peritoneal mesothelioma because symptoms are often confused with those of other more common diseases.

Symptoms of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma include the following:

  • Abdominal pain, acute to severe
  • Swelling of the abdominal region due to fluid accumulation
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Loss of appetite resulting in weight loss
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Peritoneal effusion

Diagnosis and treatment options

The diagnostic methods of peritoneal mesothelioma are similar to diagnostic methods for other types of the disease. Your doctor may order X-rays or more advanced tests, such as an MRI or CT scan. If symptoms are present, the doctor usually orders a biopsy to make a more conclusive diagnosis. A sample of the tissue from the abdominal cavity is removed and analyzed to determine if there are tumors. The biopsy can also reveal if there are desmoplastic mesothelioma or sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells.

Once a diagnosis is reached, an oncologist helps determine the best treatment option for an individual patient. Because malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is normally diagnosed in its advanced stages, surgery to remove the tumors is seldom an option. If surgery is an option, a large portion of abdominal tissue is likely to be removed to treat the affected areas. More often in peritoneal mesothelioma cases, radiation is the only available treatment.

Talk to a qualified Massachusetts mesothelioma lawyer

Thornton Law Firm represents mesothelioma clients nationwide. We offer free consultations and provide services on a contingency-fee basis, so if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Call us today at 1-888-632-0108 or contact us online.