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Understanding Peritoneal Mesothelioma and Its Treatment

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Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the thin lining of tissue that covers the organs and chest cavity. Peritoneal mesothelioma is a less common form of the disease that affects the lining of the abdomen. It accounts for roughly 20 to 30 percent of all mesothelioma cases.

Understanding the basics of peritoneal mesothelioma can help patients and their families make informed decisions about their treatment options. Here is what you need to know about the disease.

What Is Peritoneal Mesothelioma?

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that was commonly used for insulation in homes and businesses until the late 1970s. Asbestos fibers can break apart and become airborne, leading to inhalation or ingestion. As the fibers get trapped in the lining of the abdomen, they can cause inflammation and eventually cancer.

Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma can vary but may include abdominal pain, swelling, bloating, and weight loss. Additional symptoms can include nausea, fever, and fatigue.

Diagnosis and Staging

Peritoneal mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be similar to other abdominal ailments. To diagnose the condition, doctors may perform imaging tests such as a CT scan or MRI, as well as a biopsy of a tissue sample.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, doctors will use staging to determine how advanced the cancer is and the best treatment options. Staging is based on factors such as the size and location of the tumors and whether the cancer has spread beyond the abdomen.

Treatment Options

Treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma typically involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Surgery is often the first step, with the goal of removing as much of the tumor as possible. This is followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, depending on the stage and severity of the cancer.

In some cases, doctors may recommend a procedure called cytoreduction and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). This procedure involves surgically removing as much of the tumor as possible, followed by rinsing the abdominal cavity with heated chemotherapy drugs.

It is important to remember that every case of peritoneal mesothelioma is unique, and the best treatment option depends on the individual. It is important to discuss all of your treatment options with your doctor to ensure you make the best decision for your health.

Conclusion

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, and can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be similar to other abdominal ailments. Treatment typically involves surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Every case is unique, so it is important to discuss all of your treatment options with your doctor to ensure you make the best decision for your health.

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