Mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer, can affect the lungs, abdomen or heart. While most people discuss how it affects a person's breathing, it can also take a toll on other organs, specifically the abdomen and heart.
Called peritoneal mesothelioma, this form of mesothelioma develops in the peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdomen. It is caused by ingesting asbestos fibers instead of breathing them in. Sometimes, the cancer develops as the fibers cause cancer in the lungs, which then spreads to the peritoneum.
Each year, around 250 cases of abdominal mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States. It causes fluids to collect in the abdominal lining, which leads to abdominal swelling.
Usually, patients with this condition won't know that it's what's causing problems for them until 25 to 40 years after exposure. Symptoms may be mild at first, taking years to get to the point where they're bothersome to the victim.
What are the most common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma?
Some of the common symptoms include:
- Abdominal swelling
- Pain in the abdomen
- Elevated white blood count
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Expansion of the abdomen
Sadly, many patients with these symptoms go undiagnosed until the condition reaches its final stages. Treatment at that point is usually palliative, though some patients may be treated in hopes of a cure or putting the mesothelioma into remission. Some options for treatment include radiation, chemotherapy and peritoneal surgery, which may help extend the patient's life.
This form of mesothelioma can be painful and slow to develop, but like other forms, it is normally fatal. If you or a loved one has developed peritoneal mesothelioma, you can reach out for legal help and seek the compensation you deserve.