Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen, known as the peritoneum. It is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, which are microscopic particles found in many construction materials, insulation, and other products. Approximately 1,000 cases of peritoneal mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year.
The primary symptom of peritoneal mesothelioma is abdominal pain. Other symptoms may include swelling in the abdomen, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. As the cancer progresses, patients may experience jaundice, anemia, and fluid accumulation in the abdomen.
Diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma begins with a physical examination and laboratory tests, such as a complete blood count, to look for signs of cancer. Imaging tests, such as CT scans and MRI scans, may also be used to diagnose peritoneal mesothelioma.
Treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma typically involves surgery to remove the cancer, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery may include removal of the cancerous tissue, as well as any affected organs. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used to destroy cancer cells that remain after surgery.
The prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma is generally poor, with a median survival rate of less than one year. However, some patients may live longer if they receive aggressive treatment.
When it comes to preventing peritoneal mesothelioma, the most important thing is to avoid asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers are not visible to the naked eye and can become airborne when disturbed. It is important to wear protective gear when working with materials known to contain asbestos.
Peritoneal mesothelioma can be a devastating diagnosis, but with the right treatment, some patients may be able to live longer. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect you may have been exposed to asbestos. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve the chances of a better outcome.