Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma Understanding a rare, aggressive cancer
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive cancer that affects the mesothelial cells that line human organs. Although mesothelioma usually affects the lining of the lungs (pleura), it can also develop in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum). This particular form of mesothelioma is called malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. In this article, we will discuss the features, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and prognosis associated with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.
Learn about malignant peritoneal mesothelioma
Features and causes
Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma arises from the lining of the peritoneum that covers the abdominal organs. It is mainly caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral commonly used in building materials, insulation and various industrial products before it was banned in many countries. Inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers can cause them to migrate to the peritoneum where they cause irritation and inflammation that eventually lead to the development of cancerous cells.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma are often nonspecific and can mimic other gastrointestinal disorders, making early detection challenging. Common symptoms include abdominal pain or swelling, unexplained weight loss, changes in bowel habits, nausea, and loss of appetite. Diagnostic methods may include imaging tests (such as CT scans and MRIs), biopsies to examine tissue samples, and laboratory tests to detect biomarkers associated with mesothelioma.
Treatment of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma requires a multidisciplinary approach involving a team of medical specialists with expertise in the management of mesothelioma. Treatment options usually include
- Surgery Surgical intervention aims to remove the tumor and affected tissue. Procedures such as cytoreductive surgery (CRS) combined with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) have shown promising results in improving survival and reducing symptoms.
- Chemotherapy Chemotherapy drugs are used to target and kill cancer cells throughout the body. Depending on individual circumstances, systemic chemotherapy or intraperitoneal chemotherapy (directly into the abdominal cavity) may be given.
- Radiation therapy Radiation therapy may be used to target and destroy cancer cells, especially after surgery, to reduce the risk of local recurrence.
- Immunotherapy Immunotherapy is an emerging treatment that aims to enhance the body’s immune response to cancer cells. While still being researched, immunotherapy promises to improve outcomes for some mesothelioma patients.
- Palliative care Palliative care focuses on improving the patient’s quality of life by managing symptoms and providing emotional and psychological support.
Prognosis and Survival
The prognosis of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is relatively poor, mainly due to its aggressiveness and late diagnosis. However, advances in treatment options, especially CRS and HIPEC, have shown encouraging results in improving survival and extending overall survival. Prognosis varies depending on factors such as disease stage, overall health, and response to treatment. Early detection, access to specialized medical care, and ongoing research efforts are critical to improving prognosis and outcomes for patients with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.
Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive cancer that affects the abdominal wall. Exposure to asbestos is the main cause of this disease.
Early detection and a comprehensive treatment approach including: emerging therapies including: surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immuno-therapy are crucial for the management of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. Although prognosis remains challenging, advances in treatment options offer hope for improved survival and improved quality of life.
Raising awareness of this disease, promoting asbestos safety measures, and supporting ongoing research efforts are critical to combating malignant peritoneal mesothelioma and reducing its impact on affected individuals and their families.