Also called peritoneal mesothelioma, abdominal mesothelioma is a rare form of mesothelioma. This form of asbestos-linked cancer affects the tissues of the abdominal cavity. Abdominal mesothelioma usually affects men aged 50 to 70, though women comprise one-fifth of these cases.
Some common symptoms of abdominal mesothelioma:
Patients suffering from the above symptoms may undergo an x-ray or CT scan. If these scans reveal abdominal mesothelioma, a biopsy will be performed to determine the malignancy level. A doctor will determine possible treatment options based on the stage of the cancer, the location and size of tumors and the age and overall health of the patient.
Abdominal mesothelioma makes up 20% of mesothelioma cases. When asbestos is inhaled, the fibers enter the lungs. If the fibers remain in the lung tissue, they can cause asbestosis or lung cancer. If the fibers travel to the peritoneum, abdominal mesothelioma can develop.
The peritoneum is the lining of the abdominal cavity. It supports the abdominal organs and helps with blood flow and the lymph system. The peritoneum contains two layers--the visceral peritoneum and parietal peritoneum. In healthy individuals, serous fluid allows these two layers to move freely and aid abdominal functions. Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs when cancerous tumors form on the peritoneum. In addition, the tumor is usually spread out in sheets on the surface of the peritoneum. Patients with advanced peritoneal mesothelioma may have a bloated or swollen stomach.
All forms of mesothelioma, including abdominal mesothelioma, are caused by asbestos. Research shows that thin, short asbestos fibers, most likely chyrsotile asbestos, are most common in peritoneal mesothelioma. Like other forms of mesothelioma, abdominal mesothelioma may take decades to develop.
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