In light of recent medical research and increased public awareness, mesothelioma has become an unfortunate part of many lives. It commonly affects those who have come into contact with asbestos, and many people are often confused or concerned when diagnosed with this disease as it can take several different forms.
What Is Peritoneal Mesothelioma?
Peritoneal mesothelioma is particularly rare, affecting less than 500 people a year in the United States. The name derives from the location of the cancer; the peritoneum, which is the lining that surrounds internal organs. It is most commonly triggered from exposure to asbestos; which settles in the inner cavity and is spread by the lymphatic fluid that facilitates the movement of digestive tracts.
Other types of mesothelioma include:
- Benign mesothelioma
- Malignant mesothelioma
- Pleural mesothelioma
- Pericardial mesothelioma
- Testicular mesothelioma
How Does This Form of Cancer Develop?
The developmental stage begins much like other forms of this aggravated cancer. The process is activated when the tissue around an organ begins to deviate from its regular growth pattern. In the digestive tract, the lymphatic fluid acts as a ground for growth and inhaled asbestos may take advantage of this wet, sticky environment. Over time, the asbestos may irritate the cells in this lining.
Asbestos is a well known carcinogen, and the tiny fibers are particularly irritable to cells. As they continue to aggravate the linings of an organ, the body’s natural defense mechanisms kick-start a chemical reaction to protect itself from this unnatural intrusion. Due to the location of the lymphatic fluid, several organs may be affected as the fluid moves, coating and protecting organs from friction. The abnormal cell reproduction may create tumors which often leads to mesothelioma.
Potential symptoms and effects to watch for may include:
- General symptoms of illness: Weight loss, fatigue, anemia or lack of energy may be common early indicators amongst patients.
- Respiratory difficulties: Difficulty breathing, wheezing, or tightness of the chest should be a strong indication that medical advice should be sought.
- Acute abdomen discomfort: Pain in the lower abdomen or a change of bowel movements are another more serious sign that medical treatment is required.
Diagnosing Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Quite often, the symptoms are similar to those of other less-serious medical conditions, which can commonly lead to a misdiagnosis. However, if you or someone close to you exhibits some of these early signs, additional testing may be recommended.
Diagnosis methods include a CAT-scan, MRI and other non-invasive treatments. A biopsy may be required in the later stages of diagnosis if a doctor suspects the presence of a tumor. No one form of testing will offer a conclusive diagnosis, and different options of treatment can be discussed with the physician or specialist.
Seek Legal Advice
Once medical treatment has been initiated, it is also advised to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. You may be entitled to a financial settlement if you have been exposed to asbestos; which may help with medical expenses. The Louisiana asbestos attorneys at Landry & Swarr have extensive experience in the field of toxic chemical laws, and specifically peritoneal mesothelioma. We are available to help families through the process. Call today for a free consultation.