Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of mesothelioma which accounts for about 20% of all cases of mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the tissues of the abdomen which is called the peritoneum hence the name of this form of cancer. The peritoneum protects the contents of the abdomen and is therefore very important. Currently, only one cause of peritoneal mesothelioma is known and this is exposure to asbestos dust and fibers. Only a couple of months of exposure to asbestos without adequate protection can lead to peritoneal mesothelioma thirty to fifty years later. Those who suffer from peritoneal mesothelioma are mainly older men who worked in asbestos several decades ago when workers are not protected from asbestos dust.
Many of these men are currently accommodating multi-million dollar lawsuits against companies that are exposed to asbestos. Asbestos fibers can penetrate the peritoneum in two different ways. The most common way to reach the peritoneum is by being trapped in the trachea and bronchus (inside the lungs) by the mucus and eventually swallowed. From there, they can pass through the intestinal wall into the peritoneum. The second way that asbestos fibers can reach the peritoneum is to deposit them in the lungs. They then move into the lymphatic system and transport themselves to the peritoneum. Constant exposure to asbestos leads to a large number of fibers being constructed in the peritoneum.
The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are generally felt when the cancer has developed considerably. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. As the cancer progresses, the symptoms become more pronounced and severe.There are several treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma even though they all have a low success rate. The likelihood of a patient’s survivor depends on the early and aggressive way the cancer is treated. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery are the most commonly used methods of treatment. Research on the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma is conducted at research stations in the United States and by many pharmaceutical companies