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) 307-3113.
Abdominal mesothelioma is more often referred to as peritoneal mesothelioma. This rare form of mesothelioma infects the abdominal lining of a person’s body and can cause tumors to grow.
Abdominal mesothelioma tends to take root in a person’s body after exposure to asbestos or asbestos-related products, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. If asbestos particles are ingested or swallowed, the initial symptoms of abdominal mesothelioma may develop, which can include:
- Abdominal distension
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling in the stomach or intestinal area
- Tenderness around the abdomen
- Constipation, diarrhea, or some combination of the two
These symptoms tend to appear as a result of irritation caused by the asbestos particles. The particles can interact with the stomach and abdominal lining, causing scarring to form over time. When the scarring becomes significant, asbestos particles can then cause DNA to mutate. These mutations cause cells to regenerate at a rapid rate. With nowhere to go, the new cells can form tumors in the intestines and metastasize, should they go unnoticed.
Stages of Abdominal Mesothelioma
Abdominal mesothelioma can only be identified by a medical professional who has the equipment to inspect the state of a person’s abdominal lining. If you suspect you have any of the symptoms of abdominal mesothelioma, you may want to speak with a doctor in your area as soon as possible.
Abdominal mesothelioma develops in three stages:
- Stage 1 – DNA may have mutated, but the presence of new cell growth is limited. Any tumors present can be found in the abdominal lining.
- Stage 2 – Tumors will not have spread to the lymph nodes or any other parts of the body, but medical professionals should be able to identify the presence of cancerous tissue more readily throughout the intestines and stomach lining.
- Stage 3 – Cancerous tissue will have likely spread to other sensitive parts of the body, including the lymph nodes.
If the cancerous cell growths are not removed in the third stage of an abdominal mesothelioma diagnosis, their growth can begin to impact a person’s ability to meet their day-to-day responsibilities.
Taking Legal Action After an Abdominal Mesothelioma Diagnosis
While the dangers of asbestos and asbestos-related products are well known, it is still legal to use such products. The United States allows these products to be used on private property. This does not mean, however, that you cannot take legal action against a party whom you believe may be using asbestos and whose use may have caused you or a loved one to develop abdominal mesothelioma.
If you believe that you or a loved one developed abdominal mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos, you can take legal action against the responsible parties. The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you determine who the liable party may be and what course of action can help you pursue compensation. Call (800) 307-3113 today.
Advanced mesothelioma is also referred to as stage 4 mesothelioma. This type of mesothelioma is difficult to treat, as the cancerous growths that originally developed in the lungs or abdomen have spread to the lymph nodes and throughout the rest of the body. Radiation treatments or surgeries for patients with stage 4 mesothelioma are usually not recommended, as the body can weaken significantly, and recovery can be as dangerous as the diagnosis itself.
Identifying Advanced Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is most often caused by a person’s exposure to asbestos or asbestos-related products. While these products are still legal to use throughout the United States, in accordance with The Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act of 2005, property owners are made aware of the dangers these products may pose to other individuals.
Exposure to asbestos causes scarring that can eventually lead to the mutation of a person’s DNA, resulting in the early stages of mesothelioma. However, the symptoms that indicate the early stages of mesothelioma can often be mistaken for symptoms of other conditions. Medical practitioners who fail to recognize a problem with a person’s lungs, intestinal lining, or other affected body part may recommend treatments that, while not worsening the condition, fail to address it appropriately.
Due to these oversights and the fact that mesothelioma is a rare disease, patients find themselves with advanced mesothelioma. The symptoms of stage 4 mesothelioma, as established by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the abdomen
- Tightness in the chest
- Night sweats
- Significant weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
- Coughing up blood
- A buildup of fluid in the chest
- Feelings of discomfort
A person with stage 4 mesothelioma may also begin to lose muscle tissue, to the point where performing day-to-day activities may be difficult or impossible. It is also possible to suffer from a lower red blood cell count.
Taking Legal Action After an Advanced Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Treating advanced mesothelioma can be dangerous, as a person’s body may not be able to withstand the kinds of surgeries that would remove the tumors. Whether you believe that your advanced mesothelioma developed as a result of medical malpractice or negligence, or that it is a result of asbestos exposure, you may be eligible to take legal action against liable parties. You can reach out to the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to determine what the best course of action may be for you and your family. Call (800) 307-3113 today for a free consultation.