Peritoneal mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen, known in medical terms as the peritoneum.
Like other forms of mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by ingesting asbestos fibers. While it is still an aggressive form of cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma has better survival rates than other types of mesothelioma, such as pleural mesothelioma. Some studies have indicated that patients could have a life expectancy of up to five years after surgery if the illness is diagnosed in its early stages.
Peritoneal mesothelioma requires extensive treatment, which is not only costly, but also causes the patient great pain and suffering. Victims or their loved ones may be able to pursue compensation for their losses and expenses related to the sickness.
There may be many options available to recover damages. A Boston peritoneal mesothelioma attorney at The Law Offices of Michael P. Joyce, P.C., can help patients determine which option is best for them, and guide them through their claim. Contact us now to find out more.
What Is Peritoneal Mesothelioma?
Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for 20 to 25 percent of all mesothelioma cases. It is one of the most common forms of mesothelioma, second only to pleural mesothelioma.
Unlike pleural mesothelioma, asbestos fibers are ingested (swallowed) rather than inhaled in peritoneal mesothelioma cases. Most often, these fibers make their way to the abdomen after they have been inhaled and then coughed back up. After this, individuals then swallow them, causing them to become lodged in the lining of the abdomen.
Unlike pleural mesothelioma however, peritoneal mesothelioma occurs mostly in females aged 51 to 59 years old. When men are diagnosed with the disease, it is typically caused by serving in the military or working with asbestos, such as on a construction site. Research has shown that patients have a better survival rate if they are diagnosed before they are 60 years of age.
Unlike other types of mesothelioma cancers, peritoneal mesothelioma does not typically spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Instead, it spreads into larger tumors located close to the location of the primary tumor. Peritoneal mesothelioma however, can spread to the liver, other organs, and even the lymph nodes.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms
One of the most troubling aspects of peritoneal mesothelioma is that it typically doesn’t present symptoms right away. Even when symptoms are present, they are often confused with other illnesses, which is why misdiagnoses are very common in peritoneal mesothelioma cases.
One of the most common symptoms present in patients are fluid pockets that develop, known as ascites. These can cause the stomach to bulge outwards. Other common symptoms include:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Lack of appetite
- Blood clots
- Regular and severe fatigue
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Excessive sweating
- Lumps under the skin in the abdomen
- Seizures, in rare cases
- Bowel issues
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to speak to a doctor. Due to the fact that peritoneal mesothelioma is so commonly misdiagnosed, it’s just as important that you are persistent and even seek a second opinion if new symptoms develop or existing symptoms persist.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment Options
There are several treatment options available for patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. Like any cancer, the course of treatment will depend on the stage of the cancer.
The most effective treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma is often cytoreductive surgery with heated chemotherapy. During this procedure, a surgeon will remove as much of the cancer as possible. This typically means removing some or all of the abdominal lining, with the hopes of removing all visible tumors. During the same surgery, the surgeon will then apply heated chemotherapy directly to the site after removing the tumors.
Cytoreductive surgery with heated chemotherapy is the most effective in treating peritoneal mesothelioma, but it’s also rarely used. Over 60 percent of patients are diagnosed too late to be eligible for this option. Surgeons determine on a case-by-case basis if this surgery is appropriate for individual patients.
In most peritoneal mesothelioma cases, patients will receive only chemotherapy. This treatment uses drugs to destroy and shrink cancer cells. Some of the most effective drugs used in chemotherapy for peritoneal mesothelioma are pemetrexed, cisplatin, carboplatin, and gemcitabine.
Legal Help for People with Peritoneal Mesothelioma
It’s important for patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma to know that they may be able to seek compensation. This compensation could be available in the form of veterans’ benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, Social Security disability benefits, a lawsuit, or compensation from a bankruptcy trust.
Personal injury claims are filed by individuals who developed the disease while on the job, in active military service, or in other instances, such as secondary exposure to asbestos fibers. These claims can provide compensation for current and future medical expenses, lost wages and loss of expected future income, as well as pain and suffering.
When someone loses a close relative due to peritoneal mesothelioma, they may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation. Wrongful death claims in Massachusetts allow certain surviving family members to pursue compensation for their own losses and certain losses of the deceased.
For example, a wrongful death claim could help loved ones claim compensation for the conscious pain and suffering of the deceased before they died. A wrongful death claim can also provide compensation for the loss of consortium and lost income the deceased contributed to the household.
Talk to a Peritoneal Mesothelioma Lawyer Now
If you’ve developed peritoneal mesothelioma or you’ve lost a loved one to this deadly disease, you need the help of an experienced Boston mesothelioma attorney. At The Law Offices of Michael P. Joyce, P.C., we are dedicated to helping patients and their loved ones after a peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis.
We are prepared to provide your case with the immediate attention it needs, and work to hold corporate manufacturers and asbestos distributors accountable for paying the compensation you deserve.
Call us today so we can start reviewing your case and advising you of your legal options.