Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure

Peritoneal mesothelioma is an extremely rare and aggressive cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It develops in the mesothelium membrane of the peritoneum (abdomen) 10 to 50 years after the ingestion or inhaling of asbestos fibers. Due to the location of the mesothelium, peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms are linked to the abdomen rather than the chest and lungs. Common symptoms may include abdominal pain and swelling, digestive problems, anorexia and fluid in the abdominal cavity.

There is no current staging system for peritoneal mesothelioma, but the disease is usually staged according to the TNM system that analyzes the status of the tumor (T), lymph nodes (N), and tumor metastases (M). Stage II peritoneal mesothelioma is a tumor contained within the abdominal cavity and the peritoneal and organ surfaces. The survival rates are shorter for 20 to 30 years latency periods and longer for 30-40 years latencies after asbestos exposures.

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