Peritoneal mesothelioma is cancer that occurs due to asbestos exposure, the fibrous silicate mineral. It is found in construction materials and is composed of thin and long fibrous crystals.
Once its particles become airborne, it becomes hazardous because anybody can inhale them. The peritoneal mesothelioma starts developing on the abdominal lining, which is called the peritoneum.
Some of the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are nausea, weight loss, a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity, abdominal pain, and swelling in the abdomen. One of the rare forms of this cancer also develops in the abdominal membrane, which covers the stomach and other organs.
According to research, peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common type of mesothelioma cancer. And over 500 people are diagnosed with it every year. There is a series of diagnostic tests that includes blood tests, biopsies, and imaging tests.
The standard methods of treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma are heated chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and surgery. The life expectancy rate of patients having peritoneal mesothelioma depends on their condition.
In most cases, patients survive from three to six years after diagnosis. Here is a complete guide that will enlighten you about different aspects of peritoneal mesothelioma.
Causes of Peritoneal Mesothelioma
The primary cause of peritoneal mesothelioma is the inhaling of airborne asbestos fibers. According to medical experts, asbestos fibers travel through the digestive tract and get trapped in the abdomen.
Like any asbestos-related disease, peritoneal mesothelioma also develops in your body over a long period. The trapped asbestos fibers cause irritation and inflammation that damages the DNA.
Once your DNA is affected, it can lead to unregulated and abnormal cell growth. It creates tumors that can grow at a rapid pace and spread in different areas of your body.
Development of Peritoneal Mesothelioma
The swallowed asbestos fibers pass through the digestive system and stomach to form tumors. Once these ingested fibers reach the lymphatic system and peritoneum, they start irritating cells and damaging DNA.
It causes inflammation and irritation in cells that cause scar tissue. Due to prolonged damage, malignant tumors begin to grow on the peritoneum. Once a tumor grows, it affects vital organs and keeps on forming new tumors.
Diagnosis of Peritoneal Mesothelioma
There are different methods of peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis that include blood tests, imaging scans, and a series of biopsies. The imaging scans display the location and size of tumors, while blood tests indicate biomarkers associated with cancer.
Biopsies show different types of cancerous cells in the patient’s body. Patients also receive a complete examination of their medical history, physical condition, and occupational history.
The biopsy is a primary diagnostic test that confirms whether a person is suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma or not. Biopsies are the sample of tumor tissues. Pathologists examine these tissues in medical labs to check the presence of cancerous cells.
It is also important to diagnose cell types of peritoneal mesothelioma that are the root cause of the disease. The common cell types of peritoneal mesothelioma are epithelioid cells and biphasic cells.
In 75% of cases, epithelioid cells are found in patients, while biphasic cells exist in 25% of diagnoses. According to experts, epithelioid peritoneal mesothelioma grows in four different patterns.
It includes tubular, deciduous, papillary, and diffuse. Out of all patterns, papillary is the most commonly appear in patients.
Treatments of Peritoneal Mesothelioma
There are different treatment methods of Peritoneal mesothelioma, including radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. Doctors suggest the proper treatment after examining the condition of the patient and considering his age factor.
Traditional radiation therapy has displayed limited success in treating peritoneal mesothelioma patients. The average survival time of the patients is one year who received radiation therapy.
While on the other hand, chemotherapy shows a reasonable success rate in treating peritoneal mesothelioma.
Standard treatments are used as palliative care for patients at the advanced stage of peritoneal mesothelioma. It helps to increase life expectancy and to improve quality of life.
Medical procedures like paracentesis remove fluid buildup and mitigate the risk of peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms. Medical and research institutes are continuously experimenting with new treatment methods for peritoneal mesothelioma.
One of the emerging treatment options is pressurized intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy (PIPAC). It is a treatment in which chemotherapy is applied in the pressurized form. Although treatment requires further testing, it has already shown a life expectancy of around 27 months.
The combination of heated chemotherapy and debulking surgery has become a standard of care for eligible patients known as Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC).
It is used for abdomen surgery to remove the visible tissues that have tumors and are affected due to mesothelioma cells. It may require removing any organ or abdominal lining to clean the body entirely from cancer.
HIPEC is also applied to kill cancerous cells in the abdominal cavity. The temperature is around 104°F – 109°F of the heated chemotherapy to eradicate cancer from the body.
According to clinical trials, the treatment is effective, and about 70% of patients survive more than five years. HIPEC is a specialized treatment, so it is available at selected cancer centers.
The cost of HIPEC treatment is around $40,000, so you need to consider your budget before making any decision.
Peritoneal mesothelioma requires treatment in the early stages. If you start experiencing its symptoms, then you should consult the doctor immediately. It is essential to know the risk factors associated with peritoneal mesothelioma.
One should always be aware of the exposure of asbestos to mitigate the risk of mesothelioma and avoid all health issues caused by it.