The abdominal organs and the abdominal cavity are supported and protected by a membranous layer called the peritoneum. As asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they may become lodged in the spaces between the cells of the peritoneum, which can cause the development of cancerous cells that divide and grow rapidly. These cancer cells may thicken the peritoneum, cause fluid buildup and form tumors over time.
All of these developments put pressure on the internal organs in the abdominal cavity. Unfortunately, given that symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma can take years to manifest and can be mistaken for other conditions once they have manifested, the diagnosis of the cancer can be difficult.
Common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:
In order to diagnose peritoneal mesothelioma, diagnostic testing must be used, such as imaging tests and fluid tests. X-rays and CT scans are used to detect any abnormalities, and a biopsy is performed to confirm that the cancer is mesothelioma.
These symptoms may not be noticed until 20 to 50 years after initial asbestos exposure, since it can take that long for mesothelioma to manifest itself.
Since peritoneal mesothelioma is typically not diagnosed until the cancer has already progressed into the later stages of development, treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are often used to fight the cancer and reduce pain. Alternative treatment options may also be available, and new medications and treatments are currently being tested in clinical trials.
It is important for your primary care physician to keep you up to date on any treatment or therapy options that may help combat the cancer and improve your quality of life.
With years of experience handling mesothelioma cases for patients and families, we can explain your legal options regarding mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. The lawyers at Kaiser Gornick LLP provide clients with personalized and knowledgeable representation.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma and you would like to speak with an attorney, schedule a free consultation by calling our San Francisco/Bay Area office toll free.