About Peritoneal surface malignancies
Peritoneal surface malignancies are cancers that develop in the peritoneal cavity. The peritoneal cavity is the potential space between the organs in the abdomen and the peritoneum lining (a thin protective membrane). Cancers that develop in the lining and the cavity are known as peritoneal surface malignancies. These are also known as peritoneal carcinomatosis.
Peritoneal surface malignancies symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of peritoneal surface malignancies include:
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
- Pain caused by gas, indigestion, pressure, swelling, bloating and cramps
- Feeling full even after having a light meal
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Increased urge to urinate
- Loss of appetite
- Weight gain or loss without trying
- Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
Peritoneal surface malignancies causes
The exact causes of peritoneal surface malignancies are unknown. However, research suggests that these cancers develop as a result of other GI and associated cancers.
Pre-existing cancers in the abdomen and nearby organs can lead to the development of peritoneal carcinomas.
Common cancers that cause peritoneal surface malignancies are:
- Colorectal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Cancer of the appendix
- Ovarian cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Peritoneal mesothelioma
- Primary peritoneal cancer
Diagnosing peritoneal surface malignancies
Peritoneal surface malignancies are usually difficult to detect and diagnose. As their origin results from other common cancers. Peritoneal carcinomas extend over a large area and can affect multiple organs.
Diagnosis is usually done based on the type of primary cancer, symptoms and risk factors. Common tests and screening methods that are done to diagnose peritoneal surface malignancies are:
- Blood test (to test for a protein called CA125)
- CT scan
Peritoneal surface malignancies treatment
The treatment of peritoneal surface malignancies is based on a range of factors including the patient’s age, primary cancer, risk factors, extent and location of peritoneal carcinomas among others.
The treatment can be complex as it may involve multiple organs. Common treatment protocols include:
- Cytoreductive surgery (CRS)
- Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC)