Peritoneal Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects
the peritoneum of the human abdominal cavity. Hence, this
medical condition is also called as abdominal mesothelioma.
But before seeing more about peritoneal mesothelioma,
let us first take a look at the classifications and
functions of the peritoneum membrane.
Peritoneum is classified into visceral and parietal
peritoneum. The visceral peritoneum envelops the
abdominal organs and forms the periphery of the
intestinal tract. On the other hand, parietal
peritoneum covers the abdominal cavity. The purpose
of these layers is to protect the internal organs and
to secrete a lubricating fluid that eases the movement
of internal organs in the abdominal cavity.
Causes of Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Even though not a definitive explanation, it is widely
considered that asbestos is the main cause for peritoneal
mesothelioma. According to medical experts, in two ways
asbestos dust could reach the intestine lining one through
involuntary ingestion during working long hours and days
amid asbestos, and secondly, through the lungs while
breathing and hence along the lymph nodes to the peritoneal
cavity. Either way, it is injurious to the human body, and
may invariably lead to this cancerous condition if exposed
to for a longer period of time.
Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Peritoneal mesothelioma, like the other forms of
mesothelioma, shows a very long latency period and it wont
be until 20-30 years since the asbestos-exposure days
before any typical symptoms becomes apparent. But by then
it will be too late to check the disease or provide any
constructive medication or treatment. Further, a delay in
diagnosing the disease can happen due to the fact that most
of the symptoms of mesothelioma is not-specific and may
resemble that of some other common and less serious
diseases. For example, the common mesothelioma symptoms
include anemia, fever, weight loss, abdominal pain, and
bowel obstruction, and it is highly likely that the doctor
initially may consider other options than contemplating
cancer. Therefore, the patient telling the doctor about
any previous asbestos exposure in the first one-to-one
interaction itself is very crucial, and that helps the
doctor to think of a possible mesothelioma threat even
before considering other possibilities.
Once the disease has been diagnosed, the doctor recommends
the treatments based on several factors such as the extent
of the damage, age and medical history of the person and
overall health. The traditional treatments for mesothelioma
include surgery if the tumor has spread out and is beyond
radiation-curable radiation therapy (external and internal
radiation), and chemotherapy, which includes using a pill or
needle to insert anti-carcinogen drugs into the body.
With the advancement in science and technology, newer
treatment techniques have been introduced, and some of it
is looking promising as well.
Intraoperative photodynamic therapy is one such newer method
that uses special drugs and light to destroy cancer cells.
This method is used to study the earlier phases of
mesothelioma in the chest.
Further, Immunotherapy is a way of boosting the immunity of
ones own body against the spread of cancer. Also, recently,
researches have found that Gene Therapy is effective in
correcting the faulty genes causing mesothelioma. But these
two methods are still in the clinical trials and are yet to
be implemented in hospitals.
Even though a wide range of treatments are available for mesothelioma, clinical experiences reveals that none of this alone is capable of checking the disease effectively.
Therefore, it is a selected combination of some of these
treatments called the “multimodality approach” that is
commonly followed and the different modes of treatments to
be used are decided by the doctor based on the given medical
condition of the patient and his/her age.
Tail Piece Passive exposure to asbestos can also lead
to mesothelioma. This happens when asbestos fibers reach
the domestic setup through clothes dirties with asbestos
dust. Therefore it is advisable that those handling
asbestos may change their clothes before returning home
or going to any public place.