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What is Peritoneum Cancer?

Peritoneum cancer is a cancer that attacks the lining that surrounds the abdomen and may be due to asbestos exposure although there are no epidemiologic clues to its causation or association except from a small percentage of patients have a history of asbestos exposure.  However, it is widely believed that asbestos causes peritoneum cancer in one of two ways. Either, asbestos fibers may be ingested, and when in the intestinal tract, the fibers may work themselves into the peritoneal cavity and peritoneum. Or they may be inhaled and transported through the lymph node system to the peritoneal cavity. The disease is quite rare and there are only 100-500 cases per year in the U.S. Many of the organs in the abdomen are enveloped by a thin membrane of    mesothelial cells, known as the peritoneum or peritoneum. These cells protects the content of the abdomen and it produces a lubricating fluid, which helps the organs move smoothly inside the abdomen.
Peritoneal cancer is a tumor of this membrane (peritonial or peritoneum) and accounts for about one fifth of all mesothelioma cancer.

When the symptoms of peritoneal cancer appear, they typically include abdominal pains, abdominal weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal swelling. However, pain is the most common complaint. The survival prognosis is worse than for pleural mesothelioma, with a median survival time of about 10 months.



Sources of National Cancer Institute Information

Cancer Information Service
Toll-free: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
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