If you have been given a peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis your next step is to learn everything you can about the disease. This cancer attacks the lining of the abdominal cavity, and accounts for about a third of all mesothelioma cancers. Slightly more men get it than women. The usual cause is asbestos exposure, and unfortunately, you usually do not see any symptoms for twenty or thirty years. In the rare cases that have nothing to do with asbestos, it may not show up until your late sixties.
The symptoms become chronic quickly once they begin to appear. Increased abdominal girth, abdominal masses, abdominal pain, and abdominal distention, caused by fluid retention in the abdomen may occur. Digestive problems, weight loss, anemia, fatigue, and fever can be expected with a peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis. This usually starts being noticeable anywhere from two years to six months before you actually are diagnosed.
Exacerbating the difficulty of diagnosing this condition is the fact that many other conditions have similar side effects. You might think you have a hernia, or gallbladder problems, or, if you are a woman, female problems or cancers. You finally go to the family doctor, and instead, mesothelioma is found. Late-stage peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include bowel obstruction and increased tendency of the blood to clot. Blood tests show increased platelet count in half of peritoneal patients, although this is of little use in diagnosis because it can be caused by so many disorders. Anemia and low albumin levels are also found.
Expect imaging tests such as the CT scan to be requested. These can help to determine an accurate prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma, since it can be one of two clinical types. Wet peritoneal mesothelioma will show many small modules, no dominant mass, and fluid retention distending the abdomen. The Dry type will show either one large mass or multiple small ones, with very little or no fluid buildup.
Paracentesis, a procedure that removes the fluid may be called for if you have the wet variety of this disease. Analysis of this fluid does not always give you a definite peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis. In that case, a tissue biopsy is the next step. It is done with a laparoscope, and will give definite conclusions.
Treatment may include a combination of chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, alternative treatments, special diets, and immunotherapy. Alimta and Cisplatin, used in combination, is a hopeful new treatment being used in clinical trials. Surgery alone has been ineffective, and is usually used for palliative therapy (to make the patient more comfortable and slow down the disease, with no hope of curing it). Finding ways to diagnose this condition sooner is the only sure way to improve the peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis.
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