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Peritoneal Cancer

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A rare form of abdomen cancer is related to the epithelial cells of the abdomen. It may be mistaken for intestinal cancer or ovarian cancer, as they have similar symptoms.

The exact cause of Peritoneal cancer is still not known.

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What is Peritoneal cancer?

The inner layer of the abdomen is made up of epithelial cells. These cells are responsible for producing certain fluids that help with the vital functions of an organ. Peritoneum cell lining is found in organs like the rectum, uterus, intestine, and bladder. Most times, peritoneal cancer goes undetected at an early stage.

Types of Peritoneal cancer

  • Primary peritoneal cancer: This type of peritoneal cancer develops in peritoneum linings. Most cases of primary peritoneal cancer are found among women than men.
  • Secondary peritoneal cancer: Secondary peritoneal cancer starts with a different organ and then gradually spreads to the abdomen. Cancer in organs like the ovaries, rectum, stomach, and colon may spread to the abdomen’s peritoneum lining.

What are the Causes of Peritoneal Cancer?

The exact cause of peritoneal cancer is still unknown.

What are the Symptoms of Peritoneal Cancer?

In most cases, symptoms of this type of cancer go undetected at the early stages. However, they may resemble the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Here are some common symptoms:

  • ● Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
  • ● Rectal bleeding
  • ● Nausea
  • ● Cramps pain in the abdomen
  • ● Constipation
  • ● Weight gain or loss with no expected cause
  • ● Loss of appetite
  • ● Frequent urination
  • ● Feeling full with a small meal
  • ● Shortness of breath
  • ● Enlarged abdomen and feeling of pressure
  • ● Frequent back pain
  • ● Fatigue

How is Peritoneal Cancer Diagnosed?

Symptoms of Peritoneal Cancer are indistinct. However, the diagnosis of this condition can be made using multiple tests and physical examination.

  • Blood tests: If your doctor suspects any Peritoneal Cancer symptoms, he may recommend a series of blood tests directed towards confirming certain chemicals that may have higher levels that indicate cancer. Tumour cells make CA 125 chemical.
  • Biopsy: Biopsy helps in cancer detection. If any part of the organ or an area shows any abnormal behaviour in the scan, the doctor recommends a biopsy to confirm the exact cause. A biopsy is conducted after taking out a small amount of fluid from the respective part to confirm cancer cells’ presence. The pathologist may sample from one or more organs to conduct a biopsy.
  • Imaging and ultrasound: For a detailed understanding, doctors suggest MRI, ultrasound, or CT-Scan of the abdomen area and pelvis. They use sound waves of high frequency in sonograms.
  • Laparoscopy: This is a process that involves making a small cut and inserting a small camera to see directly into the peritoneum lining. It is a low-risk process preferred by most doctors.

How is Peritoneal Cancer Treated?

Multiple treatments are used to treat peritoneal cancer. The course of treatment depends on many factors such as the stage of cancer, age, existing medical conditions, gender, size and location of cancer, and overall health of the patient.

  • Surgery: Surgery helps in the diagnosis and removal of the tumour. Cancer may spread to other parts, therefore depending upon the nature of every case, doctors may recommend removing certain parts like ovaries, fatty tissues with cancer cells, or fallopian tubes. However, many advanced surgery options may only need to remove cancerous tissue instead of removing the entire organ. These surgeries are known as cytoreductive surgeries.
  • Chemotherapy: Certain drugs are used to treat cancer in chemotherapy. Area-specific drugs are used in the form of injections. The course of treatment varies with each case, as every patient has a unique situation. It may be used sometimes before the surgery. Chemotherapy may help in reducing tumour size. Sometimes, it is used even after conducting the surgery to eliminate remaining cancer cells that were not removed by surgery. Chemotherapy may have side effects on the body.
  • HIPEC (Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy): It is used after surgery to treat cancer that has spread to other body organs such as the colon, ovaries.


Diagnosis of cancer causes many changes in the body. The outlook is positive if your body responds well to the treatment. You may need to lose extra weight, maintain a healthy lifestyle to manage your symptoms.

What are the Risks Associated with Peritoneal Cancer treatments?

Women are at more risk of developing peritoneal cancer than men. Sometimes, ovarian cancer spreads to the abdomen to develop peritoneal cancer.

Here are some risk factors associated with peritoneal cancer:

  1. Age: The risk of developing this form of cancer is higher as you age.
  2. Excess weight: Being overweight may put you at risk of developing this cancer. A study also suggests that being taller may also pose a risk of developing peritoneal cancer.
  3. Hormone imbalance: Many women take hormone therapy post-menopause, leading to the primary form of peritoneal cancer.
  4. Genes: Having a family history or mutation of certain genes is a known risk factor in developing this condition.
  5. Endometriosis: In this condition, the inside of the uterus lining starts to grow outside. This may increase your risk of developing peritoneal cancer.

Peritoneal Cancer surgery may pose risks if you have underlying health conditions, compromised immunity. Removal of the uterus or fallopian tubes may impact overall well being.

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Who Offers Treatment for Peritoneal Cancer?

Oncologists or cancer surgeons treat patients with Peritoneal Cancer.

Can Peritoneal Cancer Treatment Cause Side Effects?

Most of the cancer treatments include chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may show adverse side effects on healthy tissues.

Does Genetics Play a Role in Inheriting Genes Responsible for Peritoneal Cancer?

Having a family history may play a role in developing Peritoneal Cancer. Closely monitor your symptoms especially if any of your family members had peritoneal cancer.

What is the Survival Rate of Peritoneal Cancer?

The survival rate of Peritoneal Cancer is 47%.

Do you Need Chemotherapy After Surgery?

Chemo is used to get rid of cancer cells after surgery. The specialist will suggest treatment based on your condition.


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