Abdominal mesothelioma is a rare but aggressive cancer affecting the thin tissue layer surrounding the abdomen, which is called the peritoneum. Frequently referred to as peritoneal mesothelioma, abdominal mesothelioma is the second most common mesothelioma form, accounting for up to 600 out of the 2000 diagnosed mesothelioma cases each year. While both men and women can develop abdominal mesothelioma, it occurs more often in men.

Because abdominal mesothelioma is extremely aggressive, survival rates are poor. The likelihood of recovery depends on tumor size, how far the cancer has spread, and whether treatment commences early in the cancer’s development. Early treatment is especially crucial for women because abdominal mesothelioma tends to spread faster in women than men. 

What Causes Abdominal Mesothelioma

Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of abdominal mesothelioma to date. Although there’s no definitive explanation as to how asbestos gets into the abdominal cavity, it is widely believed that asbestos causes abdominal mesothelioma in one of two ways. One theory is that asbestos fibers are ingested, and when in the intestinal tract, the fibers may work themselves into the peritoneum. According to others, the asbestos fibers are inhaled and transported through the lymph node system to the abdominal cavity.

Abdominal Mesothelioma Symptoms

The symptoms related to abdominal mesothelioma are not unique or remarkable in any way. As a result, abdominal mesothelioma can be easily misdiagnosed as another, more common, condition. More often than not, abdominal mesothelioma symptoms start off mild and gradually become more severe. These symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • weight loss
  • coughing
  • coughing up blood
  • fatigue
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty swallowing

In some abdominal mesothelioma cases, patients will not suffer from any symptoms at all. Unfortunately, when there are no symptoms, a person with abdominal mesothelioma may only get properly diagnosed by coincidence. For example, a doctor might discover a patient has abdominal mesothelioma while performing hernia surgery.

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If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with abdominal mesothelioma or another cancer linked to asbestos exposure, our experienced attorneys can answer your legal questions.

Published November 17, 2011 by