5 Facts About Abdominal Mesothelioma
Summary: Understanding Asbestos Fibers Affecting the Abdominal Lining
Most people associate mesothelioma with lung problems. However, up to 30% of cases begin in the abdomen. The medical term for abdominal mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma. The peritoneum is the lining that surrounds the internal organs found in the abdominal cavity. That is where this type of cancer usually begins. Some forms of this cancer involve deposits of liquids while others do not. You will find that treatment depends entirely on the stage of cancer when found. Prognosis is not good for those in the later stages of this disease. Exposure to asbestos is the only known cause for this and other forms of mesothelioma.
Here are some essentials to know about abdominal mesothelioma:
- Abdominal mesothelioma usually begins in the peritoneum. In many cases, the malignant cells are in small groups and very isolated. Usually between 100 and 500 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed each year, begin in this area of the body. These cases usually come decades after exposure to asbestos. There is no other known cause of mesothelioma than asbestos exposure. The asbestos fibers settle into the membrane and start the process, which ends up as this form of cancer.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma comes in wet and dry forms. The dry form of this disease shows up as a series of small masses or a single local mass. There is no problem with excess fluid building up in the layers of the peritoneum, thus the designation as "dry." "Wet" abdominal mesothelioma shows up as widespread small nodules all over the lining of the abdomen. This form of mesothelioma does involve buildup of fluids in layers of the peritoneum.
- Treatment options for abdominal mesothelioma depend on the extent and location of the growths. Dry mesothelioma is usually the easier to treat. The cancer tends to group in small masses, or in a single local mass. That makes it easy to identify. Surgery is an option with this form of mesothelioma. Wet asbestos presents more difficulties. The spread of small nodules can be all over the peritoneum, unless caught early. If the nodules are throughout the peritoneum, the prognosis is not good. Radiation and chemotherapy are also treatment options for both types of this cancer.
- Most experts think abdominal mesothelioma comes from ingesting or breathing asbestos. How do those asbestos fibers get into the abdominal lining? That is a common question. Most people with mesothelioma develop it in the lining of the lungs. However, the blood can carry those fibers into other areas of the body. Ingestion and inhalation are two possible ways for those microscopic fibers to enter the peritoneum.
- Diagnosis for abdominal mesothelioma is usually a matter of eliminating other candidates. Most people come into the doctor complaining of pain and discomfort in the abdomen. Some may have unexplained hernias. The hernias may happen due to a pocket of fluid building up around a mesothelioma mass in the peritoneum. Many doctors misdiagnose this condition due to the rarity and difficulty getting images of it in x-rays. The small nodules or masses do not show up on typical images. Most of the time, it takes multiple images and a biopsy to find out if it is this form of cancer or not.
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