Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer that attacks the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum). This cancer is caused by asbestos exposure. The peritoneum provides a lubricating fluid that enables the organs to move and work properly.
This disease is sometimes referred to as diffuse peritoneal mesothelioma. Accountable for around ten percent of all mesothelioma cases, this type of asbestos-related cancer is the second most common (after pleural mesothelioma). Pericardial mesothelioma cancer (affecting the lining of the heart) is the least common.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms
There are a number of symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma. However, like all other types of mesothelioma, there is a very long latency period, meaning that symptoms may not become evident for decades after exposure. Therefore, by the time a peritoneal mesothelioma sufferer becomes symptomatic, it is often too late to offer any type of potentially curative treatment to be effective. Patients need to tell their doctor if they have been exposed to asbestos to help ensure a correct diagnosis.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include: abdominal pains and weakness; weight loss; nausea; loss off appetite; abdominal swelling; bowel obstruction. Depending on the location of the tumor, additional problems can be experienced such as breathing difficulties and severe pains.
These symptoms are quite a bit different from the symptoms of the most common type of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma. For this disease, the symptoms are related to lung function and include fluid build-up on the lungs, called pleural effusion, and coughing. For both types of mesothelioma, the prognosis for life expectancy is dependent on how advanced the disease has become when it is first diagnosed.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Cancer Treatment
Treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma varies, and is dependant upon a number of factors. Once a diagnosis has been made, a doctor will recommend a course of treatment based upon details such as: the extent of the cancer and how advanced it is; the patient's general condition and health; past medical history of the patient; and the patient's age.
Does Peritoneal Mesothelioma Have a Cure?
Peritoneal mesothelioma is responsible for many deaths each year and thus far there is no cure. However, with continued research and clinical trials, it may be possible to one day make this a curable disease.
What Other Cancers or Diseases are Caused by Asbestos?
As mentioned above, peritoneal mesothelioma joins pleural mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma as the three types of mesothelioma cancer. Malignant mesothelioma is further typed based on its histological classification: epithetheliod mesothelioma, sarcomatoid mesothelioma and biphasic or mixed mesothelioma.
Asbestos exposure has also been linked with the development of laryngeal cancer. In addition to diseases of the malignant variety, asbestos exposure has also been linked with the development of a number of non-malignant diseases, some of which include asbestosis, pleural plaques, fibrosis, and asbestos warts.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure: Legal Remedies
Patients diagnosed with these asbestos-related conditions should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer because in many cases patients can hold their former employers financially liable for exposing them to asbestos. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, they might be able to obtain compensation for medical expenses, psychological suffering, loss of income and reduction in lifestyle. In cases whereby a victim of asbestos exposure has died, his or her family might be entitled to just remuneration. In the latter case, family members should consult with a wrongful death lawyer who will help them decide if filing a wrongful death lawsuit might be beneficial.