What is Peritoneal Mesothelioma: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis

What is Peritoneal Mesothelioma?

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer which attacks/invades the abdominal lining which is present to cover/insulate the parts of the human abdomen. There are four types of mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma is one of them. This type of cancer which is called peritoneal mesothelioma cultivates alongside the peritoneum, similarly referred to as the inside layer of the abdomen which is where its name is originated from.

What is Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the peritoneum (also termed as the tiny cell partitions close the intestinal cavity), this type of cancer is however not that common. The purpose of the thin membrane is to lubricate the intestinal cavity so as to ensure that the internal body organs and their surroundings expand and contract normally within their body purpose. Less than 500 American individuals are diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma annually and this makes it a rare occurrence.

The more common type of malignant mesothelioma is known as the pleural mesothelioma takes place on the exterior membrane which surrounds the lungs, the other type transpires in the pericardial it is known as the malignant pericardial mesothelioma. In a year there are roughly 20 percent cases of peritoneal mesothelioma.

Asbestos exposure at work is the main reason for the occurrence of all mesotheliomas, this includes peritoneal mesothelioma. Research indicates that a large number of people analyzed having fallen ill have at one point in their life had inhaled asbestos for a continuous period. This causes absorption of the microscopic asbestos elements which create cancerous cells that later grow into tumors.

Causes of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

The only known cause of peritoneal mesothelioma is exposure to microscopic natural fiber known as asbestos and it is mostly utilized in industries. This component reaches the abdominal wall either through inhaled asbestos. Another way of asbestos fibers reaching the abdominal peritoneum is by ingesting food which is contaminated by asbestos and when the asbestos reaches the abdomen it gets settled in the peritoneal region.

As a result of prolonged inhalation friable of asbestos many of us who have worked especially those that been around asbestos for long periods have developed peritoneal mesothelioma. Industry equipment’s products mainly used asbestos. The most common places where one would be exposed to asbestos are naval shipyards and power plants among others.

In the US peritoneal mesothelioma is not common there has only been 200-500 documented diagnosis annually. Those that inhale asbestos be it for a short period or for many years stands a higher risk of developing peritoneal mesothelioma. It takes a latent period of 20-50 years between the exposure of asbestos and the appearance of the peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms. The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are almost similar to minor stomach or abdominal uneasiness plus hernia therefore it can be misdiagnosed. It is advisable to talk to your doctor in advance if you have been exposed to asbestos in the past this will assist the doctor in their diagnosis.

Signs and Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

It is likely to confuse the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma with other illnesses even when they are evident however the patients do not experience the symptoms early on. There are some symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma but the most common is the stomach bulging out usually caused by ascites or fluid pockets. Below are the other signs and symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma:

The area where peritoneal mesothelioma is known to distribute is abdominal areas like liver, intestines or ovaries. Peritoneal mesothelioma rarely distributes to the lungs. The presence of metastasis causes it to be discovered although it is usually wrongly diagnosed; sometimes peritoneal mesothelioma could be mistaken for hernias or stomach ache this is because of symptoms such as ascites.

Tests to Diagnose Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Nothing is different during diagnosing peritoneal mesothelioma from the other types of mesothelioma. First, one has to undergo a thorough examination which includes medical history, work-related history and general wellbeing of the body. After this you will have to go through biopsies and imaging scans.

It is paramount to notify the doctor on any cases of exposure to asbestos even if you are not asked. Make sure that you give all the details which come to your mind that happened in the period of contacts. This statistics will be helpful to the doctor and it will assist in determining the possibility of asbestos-related diseases like peritoneal mesothelioma and what necessary steps to take moving on.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is not common therefore it will be necessary to visit an experienced doctor so as to avoid being misdiagnosed with other similar diseases with the same symptoms- this mistake interrupts the accurate treatment. Weight loss, abdominal swelling and hernia are some of peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms that augment a misdiagnosis this is because they are also signs of other abdominal cancers.

So as to avoid a misdiagnosis it is proper to plan an appointment with a professional, mostly if you suffered from asbestos. The importance of seeking help from doctors that focus in peritoneal mesothelioma disorders is that they possess the knowledge and equipment required to conduct a prompt and accurate diagnosis they will also go ahead and present to you available treatment options that will suit you.

  • Imaging scans for diagnosing peritoneal mesothelioma are done when a patient has symptoms such as aching or puffiness in the abdomen, the doctor therefore goes ahead and requests to take a CT scan, chest X-ray or alternative category of scan. The importance of this test reveals any spread of cancer or potential tumors. The doctor picks the finest biopsy sites after these tests.
  • Biopsies are done for diagnosing peritoneal mesothelioma. After the scans follows the biopsies. What happens in radiological biopsies is that tissue and fluid samples are pulled out for a test and each and every time other tests needs to be taken the samples are placed under the microscope. Note that it is only biopsy that can approve a peritoneal mesothelioma opinion so having the tests is a crucial stride in the diagnostic procedure.
  • Laparoscopic surgical biopsy is also done to diagnose peritoneal mesothelioma. There is another type of biopsy referred to as laparoscopic surgical biopsy this is more invasive and sometimes the doctors needs to perform it to the patients with peritoneal mesothelioma. Whether you undergo a radiological or laparoscopic biopsy the main aim is for the pathologist to check for any cancerous cells in the peritoneal tissue or fluid. The key cause of a late-stage diagnosis for most patients with peritoneal mesothelioma is the prompt development of tumors combined with the delay in biopsy.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 2, 2021

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