What is Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma?
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the mesothelial cells that line the abdominal cavity. Caused by exposure to asbestos, peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common form of mesothelioma. Thanks to new treatments, patients with the disease are often living 5 to 10 years or longer. We can help you find top mesothelioma doctors and money to pay for treatment.
Mesothelioma Help Center provides information about mesothelioma diagnosis, treatment, and financial and legal assistance. On this site you can learn about asbestos exposure and the different types of mesothelioma, connect with local mesothelioma medical experts, and find ways to pay for treatment.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers. About 10 to 15 percent of all cases of mesothelioma are peritoneal mesothelioma, and there are approximately 300 – 400 new cases diagnosed per year in the United States. Men are more likely than women to develop the disease, especially men who were exposed to asbestos at high levels over a long period of time at their occupations. However, nonoccupational exposure, including residential and take-home exposure, can also cause mesothelioma. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
While the general prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma is poor, new treatment are providing hope for patients. Receiving appropriate care soon after the disease is diagnosed can allow patients to live for years. Cancer treatment is expensive, but many forms of financial assistance are available. You are not alone in your fight against mesothelioma. We can help.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Prognosis
Early diagnosis and treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma can greatly improve survival time, but diagnosis is complicated by the disease’s long latency period. It can take 20 to 40 years or more for peritoneal mesothelioma to develop following exposure to asbestos. Another factor complicating diagnosis is that many symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are often associated with other illnesses.
Knowledge of previous asbestos exposure can improve diagnostic accuracy. If you experience the following symptoms, you should tell your doctor about any known exposure in the past.
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity (ascites)
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Elevated white blood cell count
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Fever/night sweats
After performing a medical examination and reviewing your medical history, your doctor may want to perform tests for a more accurate diagnosis. These tests might include:
- CT scan
- PET scan
Due to the difficulty of diagnosing peritoneal mesothelioma, the average time of diagnosis from the initial onset of symptoms is around 4 – 6 months. Later diagnosis typically coincides with a more advanced cancer stage and a resulting lower 5-year survival rate.
Pleural mesothelioma is more difficult to stage than other types of cancer. A new type of staging system called the TNM system measures the extent of peritoneal mesothelioma, whether lymph nodes are affected, and metastasis (spread of the cancer) inside and outside of the abdomen. This system generally divides peritoneal mesothelioma into stages 1, 2, and 3.
- Stage 1: Tumors are limited and contained within the peritoneum. Lymph nodes are not affected. The corresponding five-year survival rate is 87%.
- Stage 2: Tumors are more widespread than in Stage 1 but the cancer has not spread beyond the abdominal lining. Five-year survival rate: 53%.
- Stage 3: Cancerous tissue is extensive and may have spread outside the peritoneum and/or to the lymph nodes. Five-year survival rate: 29%.
In addition to cancer stage, factors that affect prognosis include the patient’s age, gender, race, and overall health, the type of cancer cells, and the treatment received.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment
New types of treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma have allowed many patients to live for several years. These treatments may be repeated multiple times if the cancer returns. The longest known peritoneal mesothelioma survivor has lived with the disease for more than twenty years.
Peritoneal mesothelioma treatment options include:
- Curative and palliative surgery
- Clinical Trials
Help For Peritoneal Mesothelioma Patients
There has never been more hope for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma. While there is still no cure for the disease, new treatments are allowing patients to live longer and healthier lives than ever before. And the longer you survive, the better the chance that you will live to see the next treatment breakthrough.
The high cost of treatment may be an impediment to receiving the best care, but financial assistance is available if you know where to find it. You might qualify for compensation from asbestos companies, government benefits, non-profit grants, and free or reduced services.