Peritoneal mesothelioma is the form of mesothelioma which affects your abdominal organs. Far less common than pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma makes up less than 30% of mesothelioma cases.
What is peritoneal mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium. The mesothelium is the protective lining around your chest cavity, the cavity around your heart, abdominal cavity, and internal reproductive organs. It produces a lubricating fluid that enables your organs to move and function properly.
The mesothelium around your abdominal cavity is called abdominal peritoneum. The abdominal peritoneum consists of:
- Parietal peritoneum – lines the abdominal cavity
- Visceral peritoneum – the outer layer of the intestinal tract and covering of internal organs
Peritoneal mesothelioma is often mistaken for other, less dangerous health problems. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal swelling
- Stomach pain
- Lower abdominal pain
- Bowel obstruction
- Weight lost
- Loss of appetite
- Chest pain
- Breathing problems
- Blood clotting abnormalities
How it develops
Asbestos fibers can get into food and drinks at the contaminated site or after being carried away from a contaminated site on an exposed person’s clothing or in their hair.
Asbestos fibers are tiny and sharp. When they are ingested they can penetrate the stomach lining, working their way into the peritoneum. There they shred and inflame the mesothelium, eventually causing cancerous tumors to form.
It may also be possible for asbestos fiber to be carried by the blood from the lungs and into the abdominal lining.
Effects of peritoneal mesothelioma
Tumors in the peritoneum interfere with the proper lubrication of your digestive organs and prevent them from working properly. The tumors can exert pressure on surrounding organs causing extreme pain.
Fluid quickly accumulates in the abdominal area causing swelling and abdominal pain. In some cases this also causes shortness of breath and coughing.
Mesothelioma of the Testicles
An out pouching of the peritoneum covers the scrotum. When asbestos fibers move into this area it can cause a very rare form of peritoneal mesothelioma called tunica vaginalis testis.
If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or asbestosis, contact an experienced asbestos exposure attorney today.