The membrane covering the organs in the abdominal cavity is called peritoneum and it can get affected by malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, which is a form of cancer. One out of ten cases of malignant mesothelioma is a peritoneal mesothelioma, even more rare than the malignant pleural mesothelioma, the cancer affecting the lining membrane of the lungs. Regardless the place of living, the most common cause for malignant mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.
Malignant mesothelioma usually does not present symptoms in the early stages, but some forms can be suspected by some particular signs. The swelling of the abdominal area, nausea, sudden loss of appetite and weight, constipation, abdominal pain can indicate the presence of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. There are also other conditions causing the same symptoms, which can mislead patients and delay the diagnosis of cancer, especially if the patient hasn’t been exposed directly to asbestos.
When a doctor suspects the presence of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, the usual recommendation is for CT or MRI scans to show abdominal anomalies. In case such anomalies exist, further investigations are done, such as biopsy to indicate the type of cells within the tissue.
The prognosis and treatment depend on the type of cancerous cell found in the examined tissue. Epithelioid cells usually mean good chances of surviving, statistically speaking. Mixed cell cancers have pretty good prognosis as well. Sarcomatoid cell cancer is the type with less chances of surviving. Prognosis are usually for no more than a year of surviving, maybe five years for about 10% of the patients. Because of the low chances of surviving, doctors usually put patients in this case immediately to aggressive treatments. Surgery is another common solution for removing the cancerous masses, but this doesn’t mean that all cancer cells get killed. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy kill off the remaining cancer cells.