Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer that starts in the lining of the abdomen and develops 20-50 years after asbestos exposure. This rare cancer makes up roughly 10-15% of all mesothelioma cases. Peritoneal mesothelioma patients have an average life expectancy of 63 months with treatment.
Learn how Sokolove Law may be able to help you get financial compensation to pay for treatment.
What Is Peritoneal Mesothelioma?
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a type of malignant cancer that develops in the peritoneum, a protective lining covering the abdominal cavity and its organs, including the stomach, liver, and intestines.
It is the second most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for about 10-15% of cases.
As a national mesothelioma law firm, Sokolove Law may be able to help you receive compensation through a legal claim — compensation that can help you pay for life-extending peritoneal mesothelioma cancer treatment.
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Peritoneal Mesothelioma Causes
Peritoneal mesothelioma cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos. It develops decades after asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed and then become stuck in the lining of the abdomen.
Once inside the body, asbestos fibers can travel throughout the body in the lymphatic system. These fibers cannot be broken down by the body, which can cause severe and continuous irritation to healthy tissue.
Over time, this irritation may cause scarring and cellular mutations, leading to the formation of mesothelioma tumors.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms
The most common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are related to the stomach and digestive system.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:
- Abdominal pain
- Fluid buildup in the abdomen (ascites)
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
- Swelling of the stomach
- Unexplained weight loss
"Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma typically present to the doctor with abdominal pain, maybe swelling. All of a sudden, they can't button their pants or get their belts around them."
– Mary Hesdorffer, NP, Former Director Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
Keep in mind, however, that these symptoms might not appear for upwards of 20-50 years after initial exposure to asbestos.
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Who Is at Risk for Peritoneal Mesothelioma?
Groups facing frequent asbestos exposure include:
- Blue-collar workers
- Loved ones of individuals exposed to asbestos
- People living near asbestos mines or natural deposits
- U.S. military veterans, particularly veterans of the U.S. Navy
Note: These are only a few of the groups and occupations at particular risk of asbestos exposure. Many others may have been exposed.
Additionally, women are more likely to be diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma than men, who are more commonly diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Peritoneal mesothelioma is hard to diagnose because its symptoms are common to many other stomach and digestive issues, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's disease.
Mesothelioma specialists often rely on a patient’s asbestos exposure history, imaging tests, and a biopsy to make a peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis.
Due to this lengthy diagnostic process, peritoneal mesothelioma takes roughly 4-6 months to diagnose after symptoms appear.
A patient displaying symptoms should consult their doctor — and share with them their history of asbestos exposure — to help rule out other conditions.
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Doctors may use CT scans or X-ray images of a patient’s abdomen to reveal signs of peritoneal mesothelioma. Tumor masses and fluid buildup, revealed by imaging scans, are common warning signs of this cancer.
If warning signs of peritoneal mesothelioma are visible in prior imaging tests, doctors will then perform a biopsy.
During a biopsy, doctors take a fluid or tissue sample from the patient to examine in a lab. A biopsy is the only way to confirm a peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis.
Getting a Second Opinion
Because peritoneal mesothelioma is so hard to diagnose, patients should seek a second opinion from an experienced mesothelioma specialist.
Getting a second opinion helps protect against misdiagnosis, which may cost patients the chance to receive critical life-extending treatment.
"Most doctors don't see it, and so they don't know what to look for. I had every test that could be done, and they never found anything. So, you have to have a specialist that deals with [mesothelioma]."
– Mary Jane W., Peritoneal Mesothelioma Patient
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Peritoneal Mesothelioma Stages
Currently, there is no official staging system for peritoneal mesothelioma. Instead, some mesothelioma doctors classify peritoneal mesothelioma as either localized (early stage) or advanced (late stage).
Some doctors embrace an unofficial peritoneal mesothelioma staging system, though it hasn’t been accepted by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) yet.
Unofficial peritoneal mesothelioma stages include:
- Stage 1: The cancer remains in the abdominal lining and has not spread to the lymph nodes
- Stage 2: The cancer has spread moderately without reaching the lymph nodes
- Stage 3: The lymph nodes are infected and/or the cancer has spread past the peritoneum
- Stage 4: Tumor growth is widespread
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis
A peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis describes a patient’s expected disease outlook. It includes two estimates: life expectancy and survival rate.
Peritoneal mesothelioma has a more favorable prognosis than pleural mesothelioma and other, more rare mesothelioma types.
The life expectancy for peritoneal mesothelioma patients who receive curative surgery is about 63 months, while those who do not receive treatment live for 6 months on average.
The prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma depends on various factors:
- Stage at diagnosis: Peritoneal mesothelioma patients diagnosed early have better survival rates than patients with advanced cancer.
- Cell type: Epithelioid peritoneal mesothelioma has a better prognosis than biphasic or sarcomatoid mesothelioma cell types. This is because this cell type is more responsive to treatment than sarcomatoid mesothelial cells.
- Patient age and overall health: Younger, healthier patients typically live longer because they are eligible for more invasive and intensive treatment plans.
- Eligibility for surgery: Patients who are able to receive curative surgery may increase their survival time by years.
Call Sokolove Law right now at (800) 647-3434 if you’ve been diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma cancer.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment
Treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy, and other cancer treatment options. The most effective treatment plans usually combine two or more treatment options, also known as a multimodal treatment plan.
The primary life-extending (curative) treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma is cytoreduction with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC).
This multimodal procedure uses surgery and chemotherapy in two parts:
- Cytoreductive surgery: All visible mesothelioma tumors are removed from the abdominal cavity through surgery
- HIPEC: Heated chemotherapy drugs are targeted within the abdomen to kill any remaining mesothelioma cells that could not be removed in surgery
This treatment takes 10-12 hours to complete, and patients usually need several months to recover from it.
Cytoreduction with HIPEC has the potential to extend the lifespan by several years, with some patients going on to achieve long-term survival.
“With [cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC], we can increase patient survival by up to 90 months [7.5 years].”
– Michael D. Kluger, MD, Peritoneal Mesothelioma Specialist
Learn about other peritoneal mesothelioma cancer treatments below.
Radiation therapy involves high-energy X-rays to treat mesothelioma tumors in the abdomen. This treatment may be used to shrink existing peritoneal mesothelioma tumors before cytoreductive surgery to help doctors surgically remove the cancer. However, this treatment is rarely used for peritoneal mesothelioma.
Immunotherapy treatment stimulates the patient’s immune system to kill cancer cells. In 2020, the FDA approved immunotherapy to be used more mainstream in the treatment of mesothelioma cancers.
Since immunotherapy drugs circulate to all parts of the body, it is possible the treatment keeps mesothelioma cells from spreading too widely.
Mesothelioma specialists are routinely conducting research to improve mesothelioma treatment. New treatment options are studied in clinical trials, which peritoneal mesothelioma patients may be able to join.
Contact us at (800) 647-3434, and we can connect you with specialists and current clinical trials near you.
Many late-stage or less healthy peritoneal mesothelioma patients may not be eligible for surgery or other treatments. Instead, doctors help relieve their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life through palliative care.
A common peritoneal mesothelioma palliative treatment is a paracentesis. This procedure drains any fluid built up in the linings of the abdomen and improves symptoms like appetite loss, shortness of breath, and swelling.
Getting specialized care from peritoneal mesothelioma doctors provides the best chance at long-term survival.
However, cancer treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars — even with insurance.
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Legal Help After a Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosis
By working with a trusted mesothelioma law firm like Sokolove Law, you may be able to get the financial compensation you deserve from asbestos-containing product manufacturers. This money has helped many of our clients pay for treatment.
Peritoneal mesothelioma compensation options may include:
- Mesothelioma lawsuits filed against the companies that made or sold the asbestos products you were exposed to
- Asbestos trust fund claims against the companies that tried to declare bankruptcy to avoid paying victims of their negligence
- VA benefits for veterans with asbestos-related illnesses from exposure during their military service
For over 40 years, Sokolove Law has helped victims of asbestos-related diseases pursue financial compensation. We’ve recovered over $5 Billion for asbestos exposure clients across the country.
Our peritoneal mesothelioma lawyers will fight hard to get you everything you're entitled to. Let us get you the money you deserve.
Abdominal Mesothelioma Cancer FAQs
Can peritoneal mesothelioma be cured?
Sadly, there is no cure for peritoneal mesothelioma at this time. However, mesothelioma treatments like cytoreduction with HIPEC may help eligible patients achieve long-term survival.
Need help finding a mesothelioma specialist near you? Call (800) 647-3434, and our team can help connect you with a specialist and cancer center near you.
Who are the top peritoneal mesothelioma specialists?
There are several oncologists (cancer doctors) across the nation who specialize in diagnosing and treating peritoneal mesothelioma.
A few of the top peritoneal mesothelioma doctors are:
- Dr. Paul Sugarbaker
- Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler
- Dr. James Pingpank
For help connecting with a pleural mesothelioma specialist, contact Sokolove Law.
Is peritoneal mesothelioma always fatal?
Not always. Some peritoneal mesothelioma patients have lived for 5-20 years after their diagnosis thanks to treatment.
What are the first signs of peritoneal mesothelioma?
Typical early symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include stomach pain, loss of appetite, nausea, as well as other stomach- and digestion-related issues.
If you were exposed to asbestos and are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor to start the screening process.
Sokolove Law may also be able to help fight for financial compensation that you can use for treatment. Contact us today to see how we can help.
Does everyone exposed to asbestos get mesothelioma?
Not everyone. However, many people exposed to asbestos do develop mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis or lung cancer.
If you worked in an industry that widely used asbestos-containing products, it’s important to be mindful of any symptoms and see your doctor regularly. Early detection of these diseases is critical for treatment.