The most common form of mesothelioma forms in the lining of the lungs called pleural mesothelioma. But some patients have mesothelioma in the stomach lining and other abdominal organs. This form of cancer is known as peritoneal mesothelioma.
Just like pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma forms from asbestos exposure. When a person swallows microscopic asbestos fibers, the tiny shards get stuck in the lining of the stomach and nearby organs. Over 20 to 50 years, the fibers in the stomach lining can cause genetic mutations in some patients’ healthy cells. Regular genetic damage can make these cells turn cancerous. (mesotheliiomagroup.com)
Symptoms of Mesothelioma in Stomach Lining
Peritoneal and stomach lining mesothelioma symptoms usually start with fluid buildup in the abdomen (abdominal mesothelioma). It is estimated that fluid buildup is present in 60% or more of people diagnosed with this type of cancer. Also, the lining of the abdomen will thicken. The more advanced the patient’s mesothelioma, the more pressure is put on the stomach and other abdominal organs. Symptoms include: (Mayoclinic.org)
- Fluid build up in the abdomen
- No appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Gas build-up
If you have these symptoms and know you were exposed to asbestos, see a doctor right away.
Mesothelioma in Stomach Lining Diagnosis
Diagnosing mesothelioma in the stomach lining usually starts with an X-ray. CT scans and MRIs are used less often. The reason is that it is easy on a CT scan or MRI to confuse mesothelioma with an abundance of gas and then misdiagnose the condition.
To confirm a stomach lining mesothelioma diagnosis, doctors usually order a peritoneoscopy. The surgeon puts a small camera through a small incision in the abdomen. The camera will help the surgeon extract a small tissue sample from the tumor in the stomach lining.
The surgeon has a pathologist test the sample. It is necessary to send the sample to a pathologist because peritoneal mesothelioma looks similar to other cancers, even at the cellular level. It is important to have cancer properly diagnosed so the best treatments are made available.
Mesothelioma in Stomach Lining Treatment Plan
Once your doctor has diagnosed you with peritoneal mesothelioma in the stomach lining, they can devise a cancer treatment plan based on the type of cancer cells and the stage of the disease. Peritoneal mesothelioma lacks a staging system. So, mesothelioma doctors will classify this type of mesothelioma as localized or advanced. Patients who have localized mesothelioma can usually have more aggressive treatments.
Surgery is often the best option to survive the longest. But there have been advances in treatment that lead to a better prognosis. One of them mentioned below is surgery combined with heated chemotherapy.
Thanks in part to new therapies being available, patients with mesothelioma in the stomach lining have a better survival rate than people with pleural or pericardial mesothelioma. Some patients with this type of mesothelioma may live for more than five years.
Mesothelioma in Stomach Lining Treatments
Patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma in the stomach lining or nearby abdominal organs may receive cytoreductive surgery to remove the tumors, combined with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). This combination of therapy can be very effective for people with peritoneal mesothelioma.
Cytoreductive surgery takes out the tumors that are in and around the stomach and other organs. The surgeon will remove all visible signs of mesothelioma. They also may remove nonessential organs affected by the disease. The procedure is complex and can take 10 hours to complete.
Heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is chemotherapy drugs that have been heated. They are put into the abdomen after the cytoreductive surgery is finished. The idea behind HIPEC is to kill all microscopic traces of cancer that are there after surgery.
The mixture of chemotherapy drugs is between 104-107 degrees. The drugs are circulated inside the abdominal cavity for up to two hours. This allows the drugs to be absorbed into the cancer cells and increases their effectiveness.
HIPEC may be given to the patient one time, or as many times as the surgeon thinks will be effective. One clinical study found that patients who got HIPEC several times after surgery had a longer survival time (80 months) compared to those who only had HIPEC once (27 months).
There also are cases of long-term survivors of this disease living for more than 15 years after diagnosis. The most successful cancer cases are ones where the disease was diagnosed early and treatment was initiated right away with cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC.
Prognosis for Mesothelioma in Stomach Lining
Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma usually have a better prognosis than other types of mesothelioma. On average, life expectancy with this form of cancer is 12 months. But several clinical studies have shown that patients who have cytoreduction with HIPEC can have longer survival times.
In fact, many patients can live up to five years with some living more than seven years. According to recent studies, the median survival rate with mesothelioma in the stomach lining after a cytoreduction with HIPIC to be from 30 to 90 months.
In the end, your prognosis with mesothelioma is based on age, cancer stage, general health, and cell type of the mesothelioma.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma in your stomach lining, there are several steps to take that may improve your prognosis. Live a healthy lifestyle by eating good foods and getting a lot of exercise. Improving your general health will improve your prognosis. If you are in good health, you will have a stronger immune system that can fight cancer.
The most important thing to do, however, is to get prompt treatment from a good mesothelioma specialist in your area. This cancer specialist can choose the best treatment options for your mesothelioma in the stomach lining based on the stage and cell type.
Get Mesothelioma Legal Help Immediately
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