How Peritoneal Mesothelioma Develops

Although there is no definitive answer of how asbestos reaches the peritoneum to cause cancer, the common theory is that it is inhaled first then swallowed.

  1. The asbestos fibers are inhaled.
  2. Asbestos is coughed up in mucus and swallowed.
  3. The sharp asbestos fibers get stuck in the lining of the abdomen.
  4. Trapped fibers cause irritation and genetic mutations to cells.
  5. Tumors develop and eventually progress into mesothelioma.

This process usually takes several decades. The time between when asbestos exposure happens and when mesothelioma develops is called a latency period. Mesothelioma has a latency period of about 20 to 50 years.

Prognosis

Without surgery, the average prognosis for a peritoneal mesothelioma patient is about a year. A prognosis is the likely outcome of a disease. Usually doctors will give patients a prognosis in the form of life expectancy.

With surgery, patients are able to increase their survival time by up to 5 years. Some patients who have had the most aggressive treatment, cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC, have been in remission for over 15 years.

Treatment Options

The most effective treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma is cytoreduction surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). Other options for peritoneal mesothelioma treatment include surgery and chemotherapy. Usually doctors don’t recommend radiation because the abdomen is full of many important and sensitive organs, but some doctors do perform it. Clinical trials test the newest treatments for mesothelioma and can expand a patient's treatment options greatly.

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