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What is primary peritoneal cancer?

The thin membrane lining the inner wall of the abdomen that covers all its contents is the peritoneum, and this can be affected by malignancy or cancer that is very similar to ovarian cancer. Learn more about primary peritoneal cancer which affects mostly women, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments in the following article.

Primary peritoneal cancer

Peritoneal carcinoma is a rare disease that affects the inner abdominal lining membrane, which is the sac that envelops the internal organs in the abdomen. It is more common in older women, and is very much similar to ovarian cancer. Occurrence Ovarian cancer commonly spreads from the ovaries to the peritoneum. Therefore, primary peritoneal cancer can only be diagnosed in women when ovarian cancer has been excluded. Peritoneal cancer can occur in any part of the abdomen, mostly on surfaces of organs like the stomach or intestine that are covered by the peritoneal membranes.

Causes

Like many types of cancer, the cause of this rare disease is unknown. There are theories that say it comes from ovarian tissue implants left in the abdomen during fetal development. Others think that the peritoneum undergoes changes that make it more like the ovaries. The cancer has also been associated with an inherited faulty gene linked to breast cancer in the family.

Symptoms

Symptoms often come in the late stages of the disease when the fluid accumulates in the abdomen producing one of the following: -Abdominal discomfort
-Pain nausea
-Diarrhoea
-Constipation
-Frequent urination
-Loss of appetite
-Unexplained weight loss or gain
-Abnormal vaginal bleeding

Diagnosis and treatment

To diagnose primary peritoneal cancer, the physician will take a complete medical history and physical examination. Several tests may be done to eliminate other possible causes of cancer like ovarian cancer. Laboratory work-up may include the following: -CT scan
-Lower GI series or barium enema
-Ultrasound
-MRI
-Abdominal fluid aspiration
-Biopsies After identifying the malignancy, cancer staging is done to determine its extent and suitable treatments. Treatments Depending on the size, stage of the disease, your age and general health conditions, treatments may vary and may be used alone or in combination. Surgery Surgery helps with diagnosis, staging and also removes the tumours. The gynaecologic oncologist may also remove the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and other involved tissue and organs. Chemotherapy Chemotherapy| is the use of anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells by disrupting the growth and division of cancer cells. It is often given if it is not possible to remove the entire tumour, or if there is a risk that some cancer may have been left behind. Radiotherapy By using high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells, radiotherapy is occasionally used to treat individual areas of cancer if it comes back after surgery and chemotherapy.

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