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Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Exposure to asbestos can cause many types of health problems and cancers. One type of asbestos-related cancer is peritoneal mesothelioma, or mesothelioma of the lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum). Peritoneal mesothelioma is a type of tumor growth that is typically terminal when malignant. Although the average life expectancy of a patient diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma is 6 to 12 months, treatments can increase lifespans and improve a patient’s quality of life.

Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the peritoneum, the thin cell wall that surrounds the abdominal cavity. Acting as a lubricant for organs and surrounding body structures, the peritoneum supports the proper function of the stomach, small and large intestine, liver, pancreas, and spleen. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the surface of organs and surrounding structures and is often resistant to treatment in its later stages.

If you have been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Please contact The Williams Law Firm, P.C. online or by calling (855) 575-6376 to schedule a free consultation with a New York mesothelioma attorney to learn more.

Don’t hesitate to pursue the compensation you deserve. Use our online form to request a free, no-obligation case evaluation today.


Peritoneal Mesothelioma Resources


What Is Peritoneal Mesothelioma?

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the abdomen due to exposure to asbestos. It is a serious disease with no known cure. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the peritoneum, or the thin layer of tissue covering the abdominal organs. Each year, doctors diagnose about 500 new cases of peritoneal mesothelioma in the US. Common symptoms include stomach pain, abdominal swelling, unexplained weight loss, fever and peritoneal effusion (fluid in the peritoneal cavity).

While the most common type of mesothelioma affects the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), about 15% to 20% of all diagnoses are for peritoneal mesothelioma, making it the second-most common type of this disease. Treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma are not meant to cure this disease, as no cure exists. Instead, treatments aim to improve a patient’s life expectancy. The prognosis for someone diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma will depend on the individual and the case.

What Causes Peritoneal Mesothelioma?

Asbestos causes peritoneal mesothelioma. Asbestos is a mineral that occurs naturally. It has flame-retardant properties that made it especially popular for building and construction materials in the 1900s, before scientists recognized its carcinogenic capabilities. All over the US, buildings and products still contain dangerous amounts of asbestos from decades of previous use.

If inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers can embed in the linings of the abdomen, lungs and other organs. Over time, the embedded asbestos fibers can irritate the surrounding tissues and mutate the cells. This can ultimately form cancerous tumors in the affected area. Asbestos fibers can also create plaque buildups in the abdominal organs. Peritoneal mesothelioma can take 10 to 50 years or longer from the date of asbestos exposure to show symptoms.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis

The prognosis for a patient with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is generally not good. This type of cancer is terminal, meaning it is deadly with no known cure. The average life expectancy upon diagnosis of abdominal mesothelioma is six months to one year. Each patient is unique, however. Some patients have longer life expectancies based on the stage of the cancer, age, whether the patient is male or female, treatment options available, and the success of the treatments administered. With successful treatments, a patient with peritoneal mesothelioma may be able to extend his or her life expectancy to 27 months or longer.

What Are the Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma?

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma most often affect our digestion system. Like other mesotheliomas, peritoneal mesothelioma often mirrors other conditions, which can make diagnosis difficult.

Symptoms associated with peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Severe and chronic abdominal pain
  • Cramps and indigestion
  • Bloating and feeling full even on an empty stomach
  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Constipation and gas
  • Excessive and frequent urination
  • Anemia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lumps underneath the skin in the abdominal area
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding

While all of these symptoms are possible, stomach discomfort is the most common and often the first sign of peritoneal mesothelioma. If you have been exposed to asbestos and are now experiencing digestive distress, even if the exposure occurred decades ago, it is vital that you contact your physician for proper diagnostic testing right away. Peritoneal mesothelioma cannot be cured, but symptoms can be treated and comfort regained when the disease is caught in its earliest stages.

How Is Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

First, a patient experiencing abdominal or gastrointestinal symptoms will visit a doctor for an explanation. If the doctor believes peritoneal mesothelioma is a possibility based on the patient’s complaints, the doctor will conduct a series of tests to officially diagnose this disease. Most physicians start with imaging scans, such as x-rays. Imaging scans can rule out other possible causes of the symptoms and other forms of cancer to narrow down the diagnosis. If scans and x-rays discover a tumor in the patient’s abdominal cavity, the doctor will follow up with blood tests that can identify biomarkers unique to peritoneal mesothelioma. Before a doctor confirms your diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma, he or she will take a fluid or tissue biopsy.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Stages

Using a biopsy during peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis, the doctor will also determine the stage of the disease. The stages of peritoneal mesothelioma depend on how far the disease has progressed. Stage one cancer means cancerous cells have not spread to other parts of the body (metastasized). Stages two and three can refer to some spreading of the peritoneal mesothelioma, meaning the disease has progressed further. If a patient has stage four peritoneal mesothelioma, cancer has metastasized to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body. This is the most serious type of diagnosis. Diagnosing the stage of peritoneal mesothelioma is important, as this can inform the patient’s prognosis and appropriate treatment options.

To further diagnose the stage of the illness, a doctor may use a system called the Peritoneal Cancer Index. This system, used for all types of abdominal cancers, divides the abdominal area into 13 sections. A doctor will score each of the 13 sections from 0 to 3 depending on whether the section contains a tumor and the size of the tumor. The doctor will then add up the score for all 13 sections to come up with an overall index. Thirty-nine is the highest score, indicating peritoneal mesothelioma that has progressed to an advanced stage. The doctor will then use the stage diagnosed to create the most appropriate treatment plan.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment

Peritoneal mesothelioma doctors, scientists and specialists have come up with treatments that can both improve a patient’s quality of living and extend his or her life expectancy. The first course of treatment is often surgery to remove cancerous tissues from the abdominal region. Then, a doctor will follow up with chemotherapy and other radiation treatments to destroy or decrease the number of cancerous cells in the area.

Some studies have shown an increase in the efficacy of peritoneal mesothelioma treatments when chemotherapy is used during surgery. Patients with advanced stages of malignant abdominal mesothelioma may receive palliative treatments instead, such as paracentesis to remove a buildup of fluid in the abdomen and relieve symptoms. Palliative care is meant to make a patient more comfortable rather than treat the disease itself.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma FAQ

Q: Is there a cure for peritoneal mesothelioma?

A: Currently, doctors do not have a cure for any form of mesothelioma, including peritoneal mesothelioma. Treatments are available, however, that can enable a patient to live longer and more fully.

Q: What is the average life expectancy for someone with peritoneal mesothelioma?

A: About 6 to 12 months after diagnosis. Treatments, however, can extend this to two years or longer.

Q: Can you prevent peritoneal mesothelioma?

A: Being aware of the dangers of asbestos and doing your best to avoid buildings and materials that may contain asbestos can decrease your chances of developing mesothelioma. Unfortunately, asbestos fibers are typically invisible, and you may not realize you have been exposed until years later.

Q: Does a patient with peritoneal mesothelioma have legal recourse?

A: Patients with all types of mesothelioma are often involved in lawsuits against those who exposed them to asbestos. If you can trace your peritoneal mesothelioma back to an employer you had 20 years ago, for example, you may still be able to hold that employer liable for causing your illness. Speak to a peritoneal mesothelioma attorney in New York for more information about this disease and your legal options.

The Williams Law Firm, P.C. Can Help

Led by our founding New York City peritoneal mesothelioma attorney, our team has nearly two decades of experience helping men and women diagnosed with this rare and deadly form of cancer receive fair and full compensation. As with all types of mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma is linked exclusively to asbestos exposure and those responsible for your exposure are very likely also responsible for providing you with the compensation you will need to treat your cancer and live a comfortable and productive life. We have a proven history of holding these companies responsible and gaining maximum compensation for our clients.

Please call our office at (855) 575-6376 today to learn more about how we can help.

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