Mesothelioma is frequently associated with the lungs; however, the cancer can develop in other areas of the body, including the abdomen and the heart. The illness always affects the linings of organs and no matter where the disease occurs, the predominant cause is still considered to be exposure to asbestos.
What is peritoneal mesothelioma?
Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdomen, known as the peritoneum; the lining of the abdomen protects organs and produces a fluid which lubricates the area and allows organs to move smoothly against each other.
In patients suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma membranes surrounding the abdominal organs become thickened and peritoneal function is inhibited.
Peritoneal mesothelioma can develop in both the visceral (inner) layer, which lies next to the abdominal organs and the parietal (outer) layer, which lines the abdominal wall.
This form of cancer is far less common than pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs. Mesothelioma UK report that only five to ten per cent of all mesothelioma cases in the UK are peritoneal.
The report suggests that this form of the illness "may arise after longer and heavier periods of asbestos exposure than pleural mesotheliomas".
Treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma
The forms of treatment available to patients with peritoneal mesothelioma vary according to how advanced the cancer has become at diagnosis. The general health and fitness of the individual may also affect the course of treatment administered.
Patients deemed to be of suitable health and fitness may be offered a peritonectomy. This surgical procedure involves removing the areas of the lining of the abdomen in which the cancer has developed, in an effort to reduce symptoms.
Some treatments involve both surgery and chemotherapy. The process is referred to as debulking and is administered to those with advanced peritoneal mesothelioma.
An operation is carried out to remove as much cancer growth as possible and chemotherapy is then provided before or after the operation.
Alternatively, combined treatment can be administered through a series of up to six operations. This is known as cytoreductive surgery. While each operation is carried out, heated chemotherapy is delivered directly into the peritoneal cavity.
Cancer Research UK offers an in-depth review of further chemotherapy treatments and relevant clinical trials.
Claiming compensation for peritoneal mesothelioma
If you have been exposed to asbestos in your lifetime and have consequently developed peritoneal mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation.
Our asbestos claim solicitors in London specialise in asbestos-related disease claims and are best placed to advise you on your legal rights.
We handle all claims with the utmost care and compassion, and work hard to support you and your family through an emotionally testing period.
To discuss your claim further, please contact us today.