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Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare disease. The tissue lining the abdomen is called the peritoneum. It helps to protect the contents of the abdomen. It also produces a lubricating fluid. This helps the organs to move smoothly inside the abdomen as we move around. Mesothelioma of the tissues lining the abdominal cavity in known as peritoneal mesothelioma.
A thin membrane of mesothellial cells, known as the peritoneum develops many of the organs in the abdomen. Peritoneal mesothelioma is a tumor that is on this membrane. Its only known cause is exposure to asbestos, and it is not detected until the tumor has begun to grow. The large tumor mass that results late in the disease might resemble many different subtypes of mesothelioma pressed together in the peritoneal space of a single patient. However, some patients with primary peritoneal surface malignancy do show a wide divergence of histological types of peritoneal surface cancer. Peritoneal mesothelioma cancer accounts for about one-fifth of all mesothelioma cases.
Like pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma can be either benign or malignant. This discussion is only about malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. Histologically, four types of malignant mesotheliomas are recognized: epithelial, sarcomatous, mixed and poorly differentiated. 75% of peritoneal mesotheliomas are of the epithelial form in which the mesothelial cells are arranged in tubulopapillary or trabecular formations.
There are at least two explanations for how asbestos fibers can get into the peritoneum. The first is that fibers caught by the mucus of the trachea and bronchi end up being swallowed. Some of them lodge in the intestinal tract and from there they can move through the intestinal wall into the peritoneum. The second explanation is that fibers that lodge in the lungs can move into the lymphatic system and be transported to the peritoneum.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms
The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma typically include weight loss, abdominal pains, loss of appetite, weakness, nausea, and abdominal swelling. Fluid often accumulates in the peritoneal space, a condition known as ascites. Over time the peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms can become more and more severe.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment
There are some treatment methods in use, but there is no known cure for peritoneal mesothelioma. The prognosis depends on various factors including the size and stage of the tumor, its extent, the cell type, and whether or not the tumor responds to treatment. However, the peritoneal mesothelioma treatment has been improved as the time goes by. The peritoneal mesothelioma treatment includes; chemotherapy and other drug-based therapies, radiation therapy, and surgery.
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