Although very rare in the general population, the cancer mesothelioma occurs much more commonly in people who have been exposed to asbestos fibers. As a result, the lungs are the most common location for the development of mesothelioma. Despite this, mesothelioma can also develop in other areas. When it affects the abdomen, it is known as peritoneal mesothelioma.
The specific tissue affected by mesothelioma is known as the mesothelium. This membrane covers and protects many of the body’s organs, including the lungs, abdominal cavity, and heart. Even if the asbestos fibers are embedded in lung tissue, this means it is also possible for the cancer to develop in or spread into the abdomen.
One of the most common effects of peritoneal mesothelioma is a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity, leading to weight loss and abdominal pain and swelling. These symptoms can be relieved by draining the fluid, although this alone is not a treatment for cancer. Other symptoms can include bowel obstruction, anemia, and unusual blood clotting.
Like other forms of mesothelioma, the treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma tends to include some combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Treatment can also include surgery, although this has proven less effective than treatment with the addition of radiation and chemotherapy. As with other cancers, the specific treatment depends on the stage of the cancer and how it develops.
Mesothelioma is a very serious illness that can prove confusing and stressful for patients and their loved ones. Fortunately, there is help available. The resources available here can help you find valuable information on asbestos, mesothelioma, and treatment options. To learn more, contact us today.