Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for approximately 25 percent of all mesothelioma cases diagnosed each year

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a specific form of mesothelioma that affects the peritoneum. The peritoneum is the serous membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity.

According to the SEER Database, which tracks cancer statistics, peritoneal mesothelioma is diagnosed more often in males than in females (approximately 55 percent male versus 45 percent female).

Peritoneal mesothelioma is also different from pleural mesothelioma in that it has a shorter latency period, with symptoms presenting in 20-30 years after exposure to asbestos versus 30-40 years for pleural mesothelioma


Specific symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • abdominal pain
  • abdominal mass
  • distention of the abdomen
  • ascites (fluid in the abdomen)
  • anemia and fever
  • other digestive disturbances


As with all mesotheliomas, an accurate diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma can be challenging. Normally a tissue biopsy is necessary to yeild a definitive diagnosis.

Computed tomography (CT) findings can be useful in differentiating between the two clinical types of peritoneal mesothelioma – “wet” or “dry,” since their appearances are very different upon imaging. In the “dry” type, CT may reveal multiple small masses or a single dominant localized mass. There is normally little or no ascites. In the “wet” type, CT may reveal widespread small nodules, but no dominant mass. Ascitesis usually present.


There is currently no established staging system for peritoneal mesothelioma, however staging can be done using the TNM system. This system refers to the status of the tumor (T), lymph nodes (N) and metastases (M).

There are general categories which may also be somewhat helpful in determining stage:

  • The first category shows a localized lesion able to be completely resected (entirely removed).
  • In the second category, the disease is contained within the abdominal cavity on peritoneal and organ surfaces where debulking (the removal of as much, but not all of the tumor) is possible.
  • Category three shows disease contained within the abdominal cavity with invasion of organs such as the colon or liver.
  • Category four shows disease extending outside the abdominal cavity.


Mesothelioma treatment is either designed to treat the immediate area of the primary mesothelioma growth or the whole body. Whole body treatments are called systemic treatments. Localized treatments include surgery and radiotherapy. Systemic treatments act on cancer cells no matter where they may be in the body and include chemotherapy.

Treatment options for peritoneal mesothleioma depend on a number of factors, including:

  • the stage of mesothelioma
  • pre-existing medical conditions
  • patient’s general fitness

Unfortunately, mesothelioma does not always respond to cancer treatments. Doctors and researchers are working to improve mesothelioma treatment all the time. You may be offered treatment as part of a clinical trial and not as a standard treatment. The results of the trials will be used to improve treatment in the future. There is information about taking part in clinical trials.

Legal Options

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or if you are experiencing the symptoms associated with mesothelioma, you may have a claim against the manufacturers of these asbestos products.

Please contact us today by filling out the brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number (1-800-898-2034) for a free, no-cost, no-obligation legal evaluation of your case.

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