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Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum). Most doctors and researchers think that the main cause of this disease is exposure to asbestos. Because the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma resemble those of other ailments, the disease is often diagnosed at a late stage. As a result, most patients with this illness have a life expectancy of one year or less. However, treatments are available to prolong the lifespan, alleviate the pain, and reduce the depression and anxiety of mesothelioma patients. Read on to learn more.Causes Peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by tiny asbestos fibers that become logged in the abdominal lining. There are two theories about how the asbestos fibers may reach the peritoneum. First, it may be that patients ingest the asbestos fibers while eating food covered with microscopic asbestos particles. Second, it is possible that patients inhale asbestos fibers that eventually enter the bloodstream and lymphatic system and become deposited in the stomach area.Most mesothelioma patients were exposed to asbestos 30 to 40 years prior to their diagnosis. In previous decades, asbestos was widely used in home construction, shipbuilding and the automotive industry. Workers who handled asbestos materials typically did not have any protection against inhaling and ingesting asbestos particles. Sadly, many of these workers are developing symptoms of malignant mesothelioma now, many decades after their exposure.SymptomsPeritoneal mesothelioma causes the cells in the stomach lining to over-produce fluid. As a result, fluid is retained in the abdominal cavity. Consequently, some patients notice persistent bloating and swelling in the stomach area. Many patients also experience low-grade fever, overall weakness, shortness of breath and nausea. Unfortunately, these symptoms usually appear when the mesothelioma cancer has already advanced and spread. As a result, the prognosis of mesothelioma often is only a few months to a year. Generally, the sooner mesothelioma is diagnosed, the better the prognosis.Treatments Peritoneal mesothelioma is treated like most other cancers. The main therapies include radiation, chemotherapy and immune therapy. Most patients also receive comprehensive therapy designed to improve their overall strength, raise their red blood cell count, and drain their cells of excess fluid. A major part of any treatment plan is pain management. Fortunately, today's medical advances mean that mesothelioma patients do not have to experience extreme pain. Doctors can prescribe a variety of medications according to each patient's unique needs. Finally, many mesothelioma patients also consult a psychiatrist or psychologist in order to alleviate their psychological suffering and learn how to cope with their disease.If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, consult knowledgeable doctors and also talk to a skilled mesothelioma lawyer. The attorney might help you hold those responsible for your suffering financially liable through a demand of compensatory and punitive damages. While money cannot restore your health, it can help you pay your medical bills and other expenses and help your family overcome the economic strain produced by your illness and loss of income.
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