Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that develops in the lining of the abdomen, known as the peritoneum. It is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, which can lead to mutations in the cells of the peritoneum. The disease is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, making treatment challenging. However, recent advances in medical research have led to promising new therapies that can improve outcomes for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma.
The treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma typically involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The specific treatment plan for each patient will depend on the stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and other factors. In general, the goal of treatment is to remove as much of the cancer as possible while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
Surgery is often the first line of treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma. The most common surgical procedure for this cancer is cytoreductive surgery, which involves removing as much of the cancerous tissue as possible from the peritoneum. This is typically followed by heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), which involves delivering a high dose of chemotherapy directly to the peritoneum through a heated solution. HIPEC can help to kill any remaining cancer cells that were not removed during the surgery.
In addition to cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC, other surgical procedures may be used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma, depending on the extent and location of the cancer. These may include palliative surgery to relieve symptoms, such as bowel obstruction or ascites (fluid buildup in the abdomen), or debulking surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible.
Chemotherapy is often used in combination with surgery to treat peritoneal mesothelioma. The most common chemotherapy drugs used for this cancer are cisplatin and pemetrexed, which are typically delivered intravenously. Chemotherapy can help to shrink the size of the cancer and kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery.
Radiation therapy may also be used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma, although it is less commonly used than surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy involves using high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It may be used before or after surgery to help shrink the size of the cancer or to kill any remaining cancer cells.
In addition to these standard treatments, there are also a number of experimental therapies being studied for peritoneal mesothelioma. These include immunotherapy, which involves using the body’s own immune system to fight the cancer, and targeted therapy, which involves using drugs that specifically target the cancer cells. These therapies are still in the early stages of development, and more research is needed to determine their effectiveness.
Overall, the treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma is complex and requires a multidisciplinary approach. Patients with this cancer should be treated by a team of specialists, including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and other healthcare professionals. With the right combination of treatments, many patients with peritoneal mesothelioma can achieve a good quality of life and prolonged survival.