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Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the peritoneum, the thin membrane lining the abdominal cavity. This cancer is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma can be non-specific and may resemble other digestive or abdominal conditions. It’s important to note that these symptoms can vary from person to person, and some individuals may not experience any symptoms until the disease has advanced. Common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  1. Abdominal Pain: Persistent and often severe abdominal pain or discomfort is one of the most common symptoms. This pain may be localized or diffuse and can be caused by the growing tumor or the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites).
  2. Abdominal Swelling: Ascites, the buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity, can lead to abdominal swelling or distension. This can cause a noticeable increase in the size of the abdomen.
  3. Changes in Bowel Habits: Individuals with peritoneal mesothelioma may experience changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or increased frequency of bowel movements.
  4. Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss: A reduced appetite and unintentional weight loss are common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma. These symptoms can be due to the cancer itself or the associated discomfort and pain.
  5. Nausea and Vomiting: Some individuals may experience nausea and vomiting, which can be associated with the pressure exerted by the tumor on the stomach or intestines.
  6. Fatigue: Generalized fatigue and weakness are often present in individuals with peritoneal mesothelioma due to the cancer’s toll on the body.
  7. Fever: Fever may occur as a result of inflammation caused by the tumor or infection in the abdominal cavity.
  8. Anemia: Anemia, characterized by a reduced red blood cell count, can develop as the cancer progresses, leading to symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, and pallor.
  9. Bowel Obstruction: In advanced stages, peritoneal mesothelioma can lead to bowel obstruction, causing severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and an inability to pass stool or gas.
  10. Hernias: Some patients may develop hernias in the abdominal wall due to the weakening of the peritoneum by the tumor.

It’s important to note that peritoneal mesothelioma can be challenging to diagnose because its symptoms overlap with those of other gastrointestinal and abdominal conditions. If you or someone you know is experiencing persistent or worsening abdominal symptoms, especially if there has been a history of asbestos exposure, it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve the prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma. A thorough evaluation, including imaging studies, biopsies, and consultation with specialists, is typically needed to confirm the diagnosis.