The peritoneum is a membrane lining the abdominal cavity. The peritoneal membrane is one continuous piece that functions as two, folding over on itself sort of like a deflated balloon. These two layers produce a fluid which is trapped between them, allowing them to slide against one another as the organs the surround move, completing their tasks within the abdomen. Where it touches organs, this lining is called the visceral peritoneum; where it touches the abdominal wall it is the parietal peritoneum.
How the chemical or physiological changes that asbestos fibers cause lead to peritoneal mesothelioma is still somewhat of a mystery. However, how the small, lightweight, and very fine fibers of asbestos enter the body is not: when airborne, asbestos is easily breathed in or swallowed. Many workers describe eating their lunch in the same dust-covered rooms they worked in. Even if the amount of asbestos dust in the air is not visible to the naked eye, microscopic asbestos fibers can break down so small, that a deadly amount may still be present.
Whether asbestos fibers make their way through the digestive system or through the lungs and then lymph system is not known for sure. The lymph system may move fibers through the body; asbestos has been found in nearly every organ of the body, even the brain.
Abdominal mesothelioma symptoms are not necessarily unique only to abdominal mesothelioma. Your first line of defense is being aware of, and making your physician aware of, any past asbestos exposure. Early diagnosis, key to the outcome of many types of cancer, is also important with abdominal mesothelioma. More aggressive monitoring and testing can help you catch peritoneal mesothelioma earlier.
Peritonal or abdominal mesothelioma symptoms include pain or swelling the abdomen, ascites (an abnormal collection of fluid in the abdomen, weight loss despite increased waist size, bowel obstruction, anemia, and fever. These same symptoms could also indicate a number of other nonserious and serious conditions, so if you believe your symptoms may be caused by abdominal mesothelioma, share your concerns with your doctor as soon as possible along with your past work and asbestos exposure history. Even if you have no symptoms, it is a good idea to alert your doctor of any asbestos exposures.
In order to diagnose abdominal mesothelioma, your doctor will first complete a physical exam and patient history. If your doctor does not ask about your work or asbestos exposure history, let him or her know about any past asbestos exposure.
In order to see any tumor masses or excess fluid, an image of the abdomen will likely be taken next; x-ray, CT scan, CAT scan, or MRI may be performed. To effectively diagnose abdominal mesothelioma, a sample of fluid or tissue (biopsy) will be taken for pathological examination. Immunohistochemical staining, or "immunos," may be used to identify abnormal cells via chemical staining.
More invasive testing, if required, may involve surgical biopsy or peritoneoscopy (examination of the abdomen with a small scope). Abdominal mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose and is even more rare than pleural mesothelioma.
For more information on peritoneal mesothelioma, including treatment information, visit the Mesothelioma Center web site. A pleural mesothelioma diagnosis is serious, but there is hope; if you are diagnosed, find a peritoneal mesothelioma specialists to help coordinate your care. You may also find support groups are a useful resource. Finally, legal help is available, but you are limited in the amount of time you have after receiving a diagnosis in which you can pursue a claim; even if you are not totally sure what next step you would like to take legally, speaking with an asbestos attorney as soon as possible can allow you to be in charge of the decision, as opposed to the clock.
Abestos: did you mean asbestos? Common mispellings of asbestos include aspestis, aspestos, & asbestoes.
Visit the Mesothelioma Center site for more information on mesothelioma.
This site is dedicated to providing the most up to date information and support for those who suffer from the lung cancer mesothelioma, also known as asbestos cancer, or who know someone who does. We diligently seek new information and we are available to help you find answers for your individual situation.
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With a century of medical evidence, secret memos, and long-winded depositions, asbestos attorneys have their work cut out for them. Couple this with the task of finding specific job sites and products for each client, and it's clear to see why asbestos lawsuits are complex.
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