Abdominal mesothelioma

Abdominal mesothelioma


Abdominal mesothelioma

Abdominal mesothelioma is the second most common type of mesothelioma. It’s a cancer that affects your peritoneum, the membrane that lines your abdomen and abdominal organs. Asbestos exposure is the most common risk factor. There isn’t a cure, but surgery, chemotherapy and palliative care can improve your prognosis and quality of life.

What is abdominal mesothelioma?

Abdominal mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer affecting your peritoneum. Your peritoneum is a membrane that lines your abdominal cavity and organs, like your liver and intestines. Like other types of mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma can be related to prior asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a type of building material that’s harmful when inhaled or ingested (swallowed).

Abdominal mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer because it has often spread throughout your abdominal lining at diagnosis and is difficult to detect early.

What is the difference between Abdominal mesothelioma and abdominal mesothelioma?

Abdominal mesothelioma and pleural mesothelioma form in the lining that protects important body cavities and internal organs. Abdominal mesothelioma forms in the membrane that lines your abdominal cavity and covers your abdominal organs (peritoneum). Pleural mesothelioma forms in the membrane that lines your chest cavity and protects your lungs (pleura). Both membranes consist of mesothelial cells. This is where the name mesothelioma comes from.

Both types of mesothelioma are usually malignant (cancerous). Malignant mesothelial cells grow out of control and harm surrounding healthy tissue. Pleural mesothelioma is more common than Abdominal mesothelioma.

Who does abdominal mesothelioma?

Anyone can be affected by Abdominal mesothelioma, although it’s rare in children. Most people get diagnosed in their 50s.

How common is Abdominal mesothelioma?

Abdominal mesothelioma is the second most common type of mesothelioma (right behind pleural mesothelioma), but it’s still rare. Only 10% to 20% of all mesothelioma diagnoses are Abdominal mesothelioma. As few as 400 to 1,000 new cases get diagnosed in the United States each year.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of Abdominal mesothelioma?

Abdominal mesothelioma often doesn’t cause symptoms until it’s spread to organs in your abdominal cavity. The most common symptom is fluid build-up in your abdomen. As the fluid collects, your abdomen may get bigger. Abdominal pain is the second most common symptom.

Signs and symptoms of Abdominal mesothelioma include:

Fluid build-up in your abdomen (ascites).

Swelling or bulging in your abdomen.

Pain that feels spread out in your abdomen (most common) or local to one spot (less common).

A painful mass in your pelvic area.

Constipation or bowel obstruction (blockage).

Nausea and vomiting.

Fever and night sweats.

Unexplained weight loss.

Loss of appetite.

What causes Abdominal mesothelioma?

The biggest risk factor for mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a fiber used in professions like construction, plumbing, electrical work, roofing, manufacturing and the automotive industry. Many people with mesothelioma work in occupations that expose them to asbestos.

Although most people diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma have a history of asbestos exposure, the connection between asbestos and Abdominal mesothelioma isn’t as straightforward. Many people diagnosed with Abdominal mesothelioma don’t work in professions that expose them to asbestos.

More research is needed to understand the relationship between asbestos and Abdominal mesothelioma.

Risk factors for Abdominal mesothelioma include:

Asbestos exposure: When asbestos fibers are disturbed, they get released into the air. Once airborne, they can enter your body through your mouth and nose, travel to your peritoneum and embed there. Once they’ve settled into the lining, asbestos fibers can damage mesothelial cells, causing them to divide abnormally. These cells can form tumors that harm nearby healthy tissue. People exposed to asbestos may not develop mesothelioma until several years (up to forty years) after exposure.

Silica and erionite exposure: Silica and erionite are common minerals in the earth. Exposure has been linked to pleural and Abdominal mesothelioma.

Gene mutations: Studies have shown that specific gene mutations (changes) may increase your risk of developing Abdominal mesothelioma if you’ve also been exposed to asbestos. The most common mutation affects a gene called BAP1. BAP1 is a gene that prevents tumor growth.

Radiation exposure: Previous radiation therapy to treat abdominal cancer may also increase your risk of Abdominal mesothelioma. More research is needed to understand the connection between radiation and mesothelioma risk.

Diagnosis and Tests

How is Abdominal mesothelioma diagnosed?

Abdominal mesothelioma can be challenging to diagnose because it often doesn’t produce symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms do arise, they’re usually similar to other, more common, conditions affecting your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, as well as other cancers. Diagnosis often involves ruling out these more common conditions.

Diagnosis may include:

Computed tomography (CT) scan: Your healthcare provider may perform a CT scan to rule out conditions that cause symptoms similar to Abdominal mesothelioma, like ovarian cancer and adenocarcinoma. Your provider may inject a safe dye (contrast) into your bloodstream that makes masses in your abdomen stand out more on imaging.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI can show imaging details similar to a CT scan. You may receive an MRI if you can't receive a CT scan with contrast.

Blood tests: Your provider can check for markers in your blood, like specific proteins, that may be signs of a tumor.

Peritoneal fluid analysis: During this procedure, your provider inserts a needle into your abdominal cavity to collect a fluid sample to test for signs of mesothelioma. A limitation of this test is that it provides information on abdominal fluid but not abdominal tissue. The cancer’s impact on tissue determines how advanced your cancer is.

CT-guided core needle biopsy or laparoscopic biopsy: A biopsy is the only way to confirm a Abdominal mesothelioma diagnosis. During the procedure, your provider will use imaging to locate the precise location of your tumor. They’ll use surgical instruments to remove a tissue sample for testing.

How is Abdominal mesothelioma staged?

Cancer staging shows how advanced the disease is. The PCI system is the most commonly used cancer-staging system for Abdominal mesothelioma.

The peritoneal cancer index (PCI) classifies your cancer by dividing your abdomen into 13 sections and assigning a number from 0 to 3 to each section. Zero means no cancer, while 3 means cancer has overtaken an area. Your provider adds the numbers for each section to determine the cancer stage. Stage 1 is the least advanced. Stage 4 is the most advanced.

Stage 1: PCI score from 1 to 10.

Stage 2: PCI score from 11 to 20.

Stage 3: PCI score from 21 to 30.

Stage 4: PCI score from 31 to 39.

Management and Treatment

How is Abdominal mesothelioma treated?

Treatment options depend on your cancer stage, your health and other factors.

Cytoreduction with HIPEC

The most common treatment for Abdominal mesothelioma is cytoreduction with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC).

Cytoreduction is a surgery that removes cancer cells in your abdomen. Your provider will remove all tumors. They’ll also remove parts of your peritoneum and abdominal organs where the cancer’s spread.

Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is a type of chemotherapy given after cytoreduction. The chemotherapy drugs are heated to a safe temperature and administered directly into your abdominal cavity. The heat causes the dose to be much stronger than standard chemotherapy. HIPEC kills any remaining cancer cells that may have gotten missed during surgery. HIPEC causes fewer side effects than standard chemotherapy.

Cytoreduction with HIPEC is a time-intensive procedure, lasting more than 10 hours. Still, research has shown that this treatment helps people with Abdominal mesothelioma live longer.

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