Abdominal mesothelioma is a rare form of abdominal cancer that originates in the tissue that forms the lining of your abdomen and organs located in your abdomen. This type of cancer can spread aggressively to other organs and often goes undetected because its symptoms are common to so many other medical conditions. Most people who develop abdominal mesothelioma do so because of prolonged exposure to asbestos, usually found in their workplace.
Diagnosing Abdominal Mesothelioma
The American Cancer Society confirms that the mesothelium—or the layer of cells that lines the inside of your chest, abdomen, and space around your heart and also covers many of your organs—has different names in different parts of the body. The lining inside of your abdomen and covering the organs in your abdomen is known as the peritoneum. The peritoneum produces a special lubricating fluid that allows your organs to slide against one another more easily.
When cells that make up the peritoneum or mesothelium grow rapidly and abnormally, this is malignant abdominal mesothelioma. Although malignant mesothelioma develops most frequently in the lungs and chest cavity, the second most common location is the abdomen.
According to Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of abdominal mesothelioma include abdominal pain and swelling, nausea, constipation, elevated white blood count, and unexplained weight loss. Other general symptoms of mesothelioma are fever, sweating, fatigue, blood clots, and loss of appetite. Because these symptoms are attributable to many other medical conditions, a diagnosis of abdominal mesothelioma may not occur immediately. Unfortunately, delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to an advanced spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body.
Abdominal Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure
Abdominal mesothelioma, as well as other types of mesothelioma, typically results from asbestos exposure—especially if the exposure has been consistent over time. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral in the environment that many industries use for its heat resistance and strength. For example, asbestos is often found in insulation, brakes, shingles, and other materials. Asbestos is also common in mining operations.
When asbestos breaks up, it creates a fine dust that permeates the air that workers are breathing and settles on their clothes and equipment. As a result, workers tend to inhale or swallow the asbestos dust. The asbestos fibers in the dust can settle in the mesothelium and irritate it, leading to cancerous cells. However, many workers never develop mesothelioma. For those who do, it may be 20 to 50 years after their asbestos exposure.
Other factors may create an enhanced risk of developing abdominal mesothelioma, including living with someone who had long-term exposure to asbestos, radiation to the chest area, and a family history of mesothelioma. However, personal asbestos exposure is by far the greatest risk factor for developing the disease.
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Treating Abdominal Mesothelioma
Another common question concerning abdominal mesothelioma is the availability and success of treatment. The ability to treat abdominal mesothelioma depends primarily on the staging of the disease, or the extent to which it has spread throughout the body. As mesothelioma spreads to other organs and body systems, it becomes more and more difficult to treat. Unfortunately, late diagnosis of abdominal mesothelioma is common.
In some earlier stage mesothelioma cases, surgery may be a potential way to treat the disease and stop its spread. However, as time progresses and mesothelioma continues to spread, surgery may become less of an option. Eventually, removing it all surgically becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible. In other cases, doctors use chemotherapy before surgery or both chemotherapy and radiation after surgery.
When surgery is not an option, doctors may continue to use chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and other forms of targeted therapy to treat mesothelioma. At some point, it will likely become more necessary to treat the pain and symptoms than to cure the disease. Other surgical procedures, such as draining fluid build-up in the abdomen, may be used to treat abdominal mesothelioma.
Contact a Lawyer After an Abdominal Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Whether it is you or a loved one who has abdominal mesothelioma, the diagnosis of a serious and chronic disease is often hard to process. It may be particularly hard to handle when you realize that your employer failed to take steps that could have protected you from developing this disease. The lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can review your case, determine your legal options, and help you fight for justice.
We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay nothing up front to get your claim started. We do not receive any fees until you have received compensation for your losses. To learn more, contact us today at (800) 794-0444.