Research from UT Southwestern Medical Center indicates that peritoneal mesothelioma can spread to other organs, such as the lungs, in the last and most serious stage of this cancer, stage 4A or stage 4B.
Understanding Peritoneal Mesothelioma
According to the National Cancer Institute, the peritoneum is the layer of tissue that lines the entire abdominal wall and essentially covers all of the organs within the abdomen. This protective layer serves an extremely important function and contains all the organs together within a person’s abdomen. Primary peritoneal mesothelioma is a type of cancer that forms within this layer of peritoneal tissue. In some cases, the peritoneal mesothelioma will spread to the ovary, abdomen, or even other organs such as the lungs as it progresses and grows. It is important to note that we discuss peritoneal, ovarian, and fallopian tube cancers together since they occur in the same area of the body.
Confusion Regarding Peritoneal Mesothelioma
In many cases, other types of cancer spread throughout the body to other organs, including the peritoneum. However, peritoneal cancer is not the same type of cancer as stomach cancer or intestinal cancer. Any cancer that spreads (metastasizes) to the peritoneal tissue is not considered peritoneal cancer. True peritoneal mesothelioma starts in the peritoneum, and it also called primary peritoneal cancer.
Additionally, peritoneal cancer is not ovarian cancer However, they do occur in similar areas, and are often confused for each other until a surgery determines exactly which type of cancer a person has. Ovarian cancer and peritoneal cancer often cause similar symptoms, which is why misdiagnosis can occur. However, both ovarian and peritoneal cancers receive similar types of treatments.
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Determining if Peritoneal Mesothelioma Spread to the Lungs
If a doctor suspects a patient has peritoneal mesothelioma, he or she will order diagnostic testing in order to determine the exact diagnosis and whether the cancer has spread to other organs. Some of the types of tests that determine the type or severity of cancer include the following:
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scans: CT scans are a type of X-ray that provides detailed images of the abdomen area, as well as other organs and the peritoneum. CT scans can occur either with or without contrast dye in order to show the doctor or surgeon specifically what they need to see.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scans: MRI scans also show extreme detail of the organs and tissue using powerful radio waves and powerful magnets to produce images.
- Ultrasound: in many cases, a simple ultrasound is the starting point that doctors use to determine whether or not there are any tumors or abnormalities near the organs or tissue inside a person’s body. An ultrasound can show specific differences between cancerous and healthy tissue. In many cases, an ultrasound is the first diagnostic test ordered by a doctor or surgeon.
- Blood Tests: some blood tests, such as the CA125, CEA, HE4, or CA19-9 can indicate the possibility of peritoneal cancer but can also have raised levels for other reasons.
- Laparoscopy: this surgical procedure allows surgeons to look inside of the peritoneum to determine if there is any abnormal tissue or fluid, and also gives them the ability to take a sample, known as a biopsy, to evaluate at a laboratory to determine if the tissue is cancerous.
These tests can all help a doctor or surgeon understand if there is actually any cancer in a person’s body, such as peritoneal mesothelioma, and if this cancer has spread to any other organs, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, stomach, or lungs.
Stage 4 Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Cancer has different stages, which rate the severity of the cancer and the spread to other areas of the body. If a doctor or surgeon indicates that a patient has stage 4a peritoneal mesothelioma, this means that cancer cells exist in the fluid near and around the lungs of that patient. If the patient has stage 4B peritoneal mesothelioma, according to research provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center, the peritoneal mesothelioma cancer has spread to organs and tissue outside of the abdomen area, such as the lungs, liver, or lymph nodes.
Consider How a Peritoneal Mesothelioma Attorney Can Help
If you, or your loved one, received the diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma that spread to your lungs, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of your next steps. Depending on your facts and circumstances, you may have the legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering. Consider visiting with our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 to learn how a peritoneal mesothelioma attorney can help you understand your legal rights.