But before seeing more about peritoneal mesothelioma, let us first take a look at the classifications and functions of the peritoneum membrane.
Peritoneum is classified into visceral and parietal peritoneum. The visceral peritoneum envelops the abdominal organs and forms the periphery of the intestinal tract. On the other hand, parietal peritoneum covers the abdominal cavity. The purpose of these layers is to protect the internal organs and to secrete a lubricating fluid that eases the movement of internal organs in the abdominal cavity.
Causes of Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Even though not a definitive explanation, it is widely considered that asbestos is the main cause for peritoneal mesothelioma. According to medical experts, in two ways asbestos dust could reach the intestine lining one through involuntary ingestion during working long hours and days amid asbestos, and secondly, through the lungs while breathing and hence along the lymph nodes to the peritoneal cavity. Either way, it is injurious to the human body, and may invariably lead to this cancerous condition if exposed to for a longer period of time.
Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Peritoneal mesothelioma, like the other forms of mesothelioma, shows a very long latency period and it wont be until 20-30 years since the asbestos-exposure days before any typical symptoms becomes apparent. But by then it will be too late to check the disease or provide any constructive medication or treatment. Further, a delay in diagnosing the disease can happen due to the fact that most of the symptoms of mesothelioma is not-specific and may resemble that of some other common and less serious diseases. For example, the common mesothelioma symptoms include anemia, fever, weight loss, abdominal pain, and bowel obstruction, and it is highly likely that the doctor initially may consider other options than contemplating cancer. Therefore, the patient telling the doctor about any previous asbestos exposure in the first one-to-one interaction itself is very crucial, and that helps the doctor to think of a possible mesothelioma threat even before considering other possibilities.
Once the disease has been diagnosed, the doctor recommends the treatments based on several factors such as the extent of the damage, age and medical history of the person and overall health. The traditional treatments for mesothelioma include surgery if the tumor has spread out and is beyond radiation-curable radiation therapy, external and internal radiation, and chemotherapy, which includes using a pill or needle to insert anti-carcinogen drugs into the body.
With the advancement in science and technology, newer treatment techniques have been introduced, and some of it is looking promising as well.
Intraoperative photodynamic therapy is one such newer method that uses special drugs and light to destroy cancer cells. This method is used to study the earlier phases of mesothelioma in the chest.
Further, Immunotherapy is a way of boosting the immunity of ones own body against the spread of cancer. Also, recently, researches have found that Gene Therapy is effective in correcting the faulty genes causing mesothelioma. But these two methods are still in the clinical trials and are yet to be implemented in hospitals.
Even though a wide range of treatments are available for mesothelioma, clinical experiences reveals that none of this alone is capable of checking the disease effectively. Therefore, it is a selected combination of some of these treatments called the "multimodality approach" that is commonly followed and the different modes of treatments to be used are decided by the doctor based on the given medical condition of the patient and his/her age.
Tail Piece Passive exposure to asbestos can also lead to mesothelioma. This happens when asbestos fibers reach the domestic setup through clothes dirties with asbestos dust. Therefore it is advisable that those handling asbestos may change their clothes before returning home or going to any public place.