Mention “mesothelioma” to an oncologist and chances are he’ll agree that this type of cancer is one of the most difficult to treat. Despite a lot of disappointments, however, doctors and researchers continue to try to find new ways to combat mesothelioma of all varieties, including the most common pleural form but also peritoneal mesothelioma.
This diligent research is done in the hopes that a peritoneal mesothelioma life expectancy, and the life expectancy for other types of meso patients as well, will increase.
Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second-most common form of the disease. Statistics show that it accounts for about 10-15 percent of all cases diagnosed each year in the United States, somewhere around 200-500 total cases.
Peritoneal meso happens when tiny asbestos fibers lodge in the lining of the abdomen, known as the peritoneum. Tumors can then form in either the visceral or parietal layer of that membrane. No one is quite sure how the toxic dust makes it to that organ but theories hold that the fibers travel through the digestive system to the abdomen. Others believe the dust reaches the peritoneum through the body’s lymphatic system.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms
This form of mesothelioma is classified by the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Nausea or vomiting
- A feeling of fullness
- Unexplained weight loss
- Night sweats
- Crushing fatigue
As with pleural mesothelioma, the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may take decades to appear and, as such, the stage of the cancer at diagnosis can be quite advanced, making the prognosis fairly grim and adding to the difficulty of finding successful treatment. Survival, of course, is always better among those who are diagnosed early.
The life expectancy of peritoneal mesothelioma victims, hence, will depend on the stage of the disease as well as factors including the location of the tumor, the cell type, and the overall health and age of the patient.
For several decades, a diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma meant a survival rate of less than a year…pretty much across the board. However, with advances in early detection and with newer chemotherapy treatments including heated interperitoneal chemo as well as experimental therapies including immunotherapy, experts estimate that about 25 percent of all peritoneal mesothelioma patients survive about 3 years after diagnosis. It is rare, however, that anyway makes it to that all-important 5-year landmark.
Hence, it’s obvious that this is a serious form of cancer. Sadly, in most cases, it could have been avoided. As with other forms of mesothelioma, the peritoneal type is caused by exposure to asbestos. Generally, such exposure occurred on the job (though there are exceptions) and workers were NEVER warned that they were at risk for developing cancer.
Because the use of asbestos was so commonplace from the 1930s through the late 1970s, workers didn’t think twice about touching it or working with it without benefit of any sort of respiratory protection. However, their superiors often knew that asbestos was dangerous yet said nothing or offered no protection. That’s the saddest part of any mesothelioma journey.
But one of the results of this negligent exposure can be compensation for the patient and his/her family…if you take the time to consult an experienced asbestos attorney who knows how to fight for his/her clients. If you need more information about peritoneal mesothelioma and how you can file suit against those responsible for your diagnosis, schedule an appointment with a local legal expert.
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Get more mesothelioma information, or call Lee, (855) 397-6640