Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that can be very aggressive when it develops in a human being’s abdominal cavity. This type of cancer diagnosis is confirmed through a biopsy. Peritoneal mesothelioma (“Meso”) often goes undiagnosed for quite some time due to the fact that early on it has many similarities with less serious abdominal conditions. Some symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include abdominal swelling, tenderness, distension, abdominal pain, and constipation or diarrhea.
What is peritoneal mesothelioma?
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a specific and rare form of the asbestos-related cancer we refer to as meso. With this type of meso, tumors form on the lining of the abdominal cavity. Between 500 and 1000 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, however, it is possible that several cases are overlooked because the symptoms overlap with other abdominal diagnoses. Because asbestos is widely considered to be the cause of peritoneal mesothelioma, asbestos attorneys like the litigators at The Meso Law Firm can help if you suffer from this type of meso diagnosis.
Where does peritoneal mesothelioma come from?
The common cause of peritoneal mesothelioma is asbestos. Asbestos is a natural mineral that, when inhaled or ingested, can cause detrimental health effects, one of which is this deadly form of cancer. In addition to inhalation, this type of meso may be a result of swallowing asbestos fibers. If the fibers were swallowed, or otherwise ingested, they may go directly to the digestive tract, where they may remain lodged for decades. In the case of asbestos that was breathed in, those asbestos fibers may travel through the lymphatic system and ultimately end up in or around the peritoneum. However they arrive, after a long period of time, the asbestos fibers damage DNA, and tumors begin to form in the abdomen.
Who does peritoneal mesothelioma affect?
Peritoneal mesothelioma affects both men and women who were exposed to asbestos in one manner or another. It can spread to other vital organs in the body. For women, there can be an overlapping connection with the female reproductive system. For either gender, this lethal tumor can spread to the lungs or the heart. And for men, although it is very rare, this form of cancer can migrate to the testicles (paratesticular mesothelioma). The effects of peritoneal mesothelioma are devastating, but the diagnosis may fly under the radar for a long period of time because the disease is hard to diagnose.
What is the prognosis?
Unfortunately, the outlook for those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma is poor, however, many treatments are available. Due to the fact that many patients are misdiagnosed from the start, they submit to treatment plans that do nothing to address the disease. Those who are ultimately diagnosed with mesothelioma of the peritoneum are often given the devastating news in their final stages, which means that there is not much time to administer chemotherapy or other advanced forms of treatment. However, there is hope, and there are advanced treatments that may be available to some patients.
It is not uncommon for individuals diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma to have anywhere from six months to a year of life remaining after the initial diagnosis. Such a short prognosis is why you need to contact a lawyer immediately to help you build a case against the entities responsible for your diagnosis.