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Peritoneal Mesothelioma

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Your Rights After a Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosis

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and would like to know your legal rights, reach out to Shrader & Associates L.L.P. Our team of dedicated peritoneal mesothelioma lawyers and paralegals does everything possible to help our clients hold negligent employers and companies responsible for exposing so many Americans to asbestos. You deserve support as you face this frightening disease, and we can help you file a claim to cover your treatment costs and help provide for you and your family.

What is Peritoneal Mesothelioma?

Like all other types of mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. This specific form of mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen called the peritoneum, hence the name peritoneal mesothelioma.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is less common than pleural mesothelioma, and consequently. it is not as well understood. Though both varieties have been linked to asbestos exposure and share some genetic similarities, there are also some genes that are only affected in peritoneal mesothelioma patients. Studies on the matter are ongoing.

Different Types of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

There are two subtypes of peritoneal mesothelioma: diffuse (the more common) and localized. The localized variety tends to cause symptoms in one specific area of the abdominal cavity while the diffuse variety tends to have more generally located symptoms.

Diffuse Peritoneal

In diffuse peritoneal mesothelioma, the tumor has spread within the abdominal cavity. Its typical symptoms include a distended abdomen and/or an increase in abdominal girth, pain, nausea, or weight loss. A patient can also experience bowel obstruction, a sign that the disease is in an advanced stage.

The distended abdomen is typically the first symptom to appear. It can result in a feeling of fullness regardless of how little the patient eats, difficulty swallowing, and shortness of breath; these can lead to weight loss and lack of energy among patients. A distended abdomen is sometimes misdiagnosed as an abdominal wall hernia and the mesothelioma discovered during a hernia repair surgery.

Localized Peritoneal Mesothelioma

The localized variety of this cancer presents as a mass with defined borders that sometimes extends to nearby organs. However, it does not spread throughout the abdominal cavity as in the diffuse subtype. The most common symptoms are localized abdominal pain and a mass within the abdomen or pelvis that can be felt during examination.

Who is Most at Risk for Peritoneal Mesothelioma?

As the second most common type of mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for approximately 20% of all cases of asbestos-related cancer diseases. However, unlike pleural mesothelioma, this mesothelioma is found more often in women than in men and mesothelioma symptoms appear at a younger age. Additionally, the average survival expectancy for women with this cancer is twice that of men because treatment seems to be more effective for them. The reason for the differences between male and female patients is as of yet unknown.

Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may vary with the type and location of the cancerous growths. Unfortunately, because the symptoms are non-specific, peritoneal mesothelioma is often not diagnosed until it has spread widely throughout the abdominal cavity.

Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Anemia
  • Blood clotting disorder
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Coughing without signs of respiratory infection
  • Difficulty swallowing (esophageal dysphagia)
  • Hoarse or husky voice
  • Loss of appetite and nausea
  • Pain in chest or abdomen
  • Peritoneal effusion
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Insomnia
  • The abdomen becomes swollen and taut (indicating fluid buildup)
  • Unexplained weight loss of more than 10% of body weight

The second most common symptom for peritoneal mesothelioma patients is pain. However, in most instances the pain is widespread and nonspecific, making it difficult to associate with any specific diseases.

Anatomy of the Peritoneum

There are two layers of the peritoneal lining: the parietal peritoneum and the visceral peritoneum. The parietal peritoneum envelops the abdominal cavity and stretches to the heart and lungs. The visceral peritoneum covers the upper part of the intestinal tract and the internal organs. Peritoneal mesothelioma may form on either or both of these membranes. Inflammation caused by the cancer leads to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity), which can eventually put pressure on the organs within.

This cancer tends to spread across the peritoneum but rarely metastasizes to other parts of the body.

How is Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

A diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma cancer is made only after a biopsy confirms the presence of cancerous cells within the affected tissue. This requires a sample from the peritoneum, usually collected either through a very long needle or during a specialized procedure called a peritoneoscopy.

How is Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treated?

Chemotherapy is often the treatment of choice for many different types of cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma included. Surgery to remove the tumor and/or part of the organ it has invaded is another option. Radiation may also be used to kill cancerous cells. And sometimes, two or more of these methods are utilized together.

What is the Prognosis for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Patients?

There is no cure for peritoneal mesothelioma. Although successful intervention—through the treatment methods listed above—may improve a person’s prognosis, there is no proven way of eliminating the cancer from the body. The age of the patient, his or her general health and the state of advancement the cancer is in when treatment commences all have a bearing on doctors’ predictions for how long a patient will live. Both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma are the subjects of much medical research, however; and with that, the life expectancies for its victims could change in the relatively near future.

Contact Shrader & Associates to File a Claim Nationwide

We understand how difficult dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis is, emotionally and physically. Our experienced team is here to make your life easier. We know how to navigate the claims process efficiently and can provide legal counsel as well as additional support and resources to mesothelioma patients and their families. Our team takes cases throughout the U.S. and we’re willing to travel to meet you. After a diagnosis, it’s important to learn about your rights as soon as possible so you and your family can make an informed decision about what to do next. Reach out to our team today if you’re looking for information or guidance on your next steps.

We’ve helped thousands of mesothelioma patients across the U.S. and we want to know what we can do for you. Call Shrader & Associates, L.L.P. today at (866) 262-8170 for a free consultation.

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