Peritoneal mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the delicately thin membrane which surrounds and protects gastrointestinal tracts called peritoneum. Aside from being a protective layer, peritoneum also provides fluids for the lubrication of the stomach and intestines so that they will function properly. Moreover, these organs should need to move properly so that digestive system can process the food and push out wastes. Should peritoneum fail to function the way it is expected, devastating and severe consequences arise.
But just like other types of mesothelioma, the symptoms of mesothelioma are hard to diagnose. More often, diagnoses will lead to other less severe diseases concealing the true symptoms. Thus, patient will be complaisant which will worsen the situation in the future.
Here are the true symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma:
• Lower abdominal pains
• Stomach pains
• Loss of appetite
• Problems with bowel movements
• Weight loss
• Abdominal swelling
It is believed that asbestos fibers enter the body and reach the stomach through the mouth. Once these fibers settle inside the stomach, they can easily penetrate the stomach lining. And since the lining is so delicate, the cells will begin to mutate and develop into cancerous mesothelioma cells. Constant irritation on the cells over a long period of time will develop into tumors and engulf the stomach resulting to the destruction of healthy cells and the growth of the cancerous ones. Furthermore, asbestos fumes will inhibit the peritoneum to develop and repair the protective lining that supports the stomach in all its activities. In some cases, tumors inside the stomach grow larger in size that they will occupy most of the space exerting too much pressure on other organs surrounding the stomach. Such activity will cause excruciating pain.
There is no cure for peritoneal mesothelioma. However, there are some conditions that doctors are hoping to find in mesothelioma patients that can help them to, at least, alleviate the pains and sorrows and to prolong the lives of the patients. These conditions include age, size and stage of the tumor at the time of discovery, types of cells affected and the responsiveness of the tumors to treatments. Likewise, these conditions will provide the doctors some idea what course of action to take to help the patients.
Generally, early diagnoses as well as vigorous treatments are the keys to prolong the life of the patients. But unfortunately, peritoneal mesothelioma lies undetected and does not show symptoms until the cancer is in its most advanced stage. At the time of discovery, patients can live not more than five years depending on the age and the resistance of the body.