Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Peritoneal Cancer Treatment?
If you struggle with peritoneal cancer, Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital is the perfect hospital for you, as we have ultramodern medical equipment by which our skillful and experienced specialists can offer the most effective treatment you need. In addition, choosing Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey for the treatment of peritoneal cancer will ensure quality services in a warm and compassionate environment, as we place great emphasis on our patients' comfort and well-being. Since 1969, we have been providing the community of Los Angeles with the finest healthcare, striving to improve the quality of our services.
The tissue lining your abdominal wall and covering most of the organs in your abdomen is the peritoneum. A liquid, medically known as peritoneal fluid, lubricates the surface of this tissue so that the organs in your stomach can move smoothly.
What is particular about this type of cancer is that it rarely originates from the peritoneum. Instead, it is usually the result of cancer that has spread to this tissue from other parts, such as the ovaries, the colon, the bladder, or the appendix.
However, there is a type of peritoneal cancer that arises from the tissue that lines your abdomen, known as mesothelioma. It is a very aggressive and very rare type of cancer, with approximately 250 people receiving the diagnosis in the US every year.
A known cause of peritoneal mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, and the disease takes between 20 to 50 years to develop from the first asbestos exposure. When cancer from other parts of the body has spread to the peritoneum, the disease is considered to be advanced and is usually referred to as peritoneal carcinomatosis.
The treatment you will receive for peritoneal cancer will highly depend on the location and size of the malignant tumor, the stage of the disease, your age, your overall health, and your preferences. However, for most people, surgery is a viable treatment option and can remove the malignant tumor from the peritoneum.
Surgery for peritoneal cancer is known as cytoreduction. Following surgery, you will be given hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), which entails administrating heated chemotherapy in the peritoneum after surgery. This treatment approach is instrumental in destroying malignant cells that have spread from the appendix, colon, or stomach. HIPEC is a “chemotherapy bath” that delivers heated chemotherapy directly in the abdominal cavity, where it penetrates the damaged tissue.
The best advantage of HIPEC is that 90% of the chemotherapy drug remains within the abdominal cavity, which decreases toxic effects on the rest of the body. In addition, this targeted contact of the heated drug destroys the tumor nodules, which increases absorption of the chemotherapy solution.
Nevertheless, you may be required to undergo standard chemotherapy before or after the surgery to decrease the size of your malignant tumor. The following chemotherapy medications, which come in the form of a pill or injection, are the most effective in destroying malignant cells in people with peritoneal cancer:
Another treatment that may be effective for people who struggle with peritoneal cancer is targeted therapy, which may entail receiving a chemotherapy drug combined with a targeted therapy drug to increase the effects of both.
Hormonal therapy may also be administered in addition to chemotherapy for treating advanced primary peritoneal cancer. Finally, radiotherapy is sometimes recommended to treat advanced primary cancer or recurrent peritoneal cancer.
Symptoms of Peritoneal Cancer
People whose peritoneal cancer is in the early stages may not experience any symptoms or may have symptoms that are vague and that seem unconnected. However, as peritoneal cancer grows and spreads, the patient will experience more bothersome symptoms.
The most common symptoms of peritoneal cancer are:
Diagnosis of Peritoneal Cancer
The diagnostic process of peritoneal cancer begins with your doctor asking you about the symptoms you are experiencing. You should provide your physician with as many details as you know about how you feel so that they can thoroughly assess your health.
A physical exam will follow, during which your doctor will look for signs such as abdominal swelling on your body. If they suspect the presence of peritoneal cancer, they will order some of the following tests and exams:
- blood tests: the purpose of blood tests is to measure the amount of proteins released by malignant tumors in your blood, which are medically known as tumor markers, whose presence may indicate the occurrence of peritoneal cancer in your body
- imaging tests: you will undergo a CT or MRI scan, which will provide your doctor with essential information about your cancer, such as the location of the malignant tumor, whether it has spread, and the size of the tumor, by creating detailed and clear images of the inside of your body
- laparoscopy: some people with peritoneal cancer will have to undergo laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure during which several tiny incisions are made in your abdomen so that the surgeon can see where the malignant tumor is located and collect samples of tissue and fluid that will subsequently be sent to the laboratory to assess the presence of cancerous cells
While the exact cause of peritoneal cancer is unknown yet, medical researchers believe that cancer in the peritoneum begins developing when there is a mutation in peritoneal cells that results in them dividing and spreading beyond control.
Peritoneal cancer may be the consequence of cancer in another part of the body, such as the stomach, the appendix, the bladder, or the ovaries, or can stem from the peritoneum itself (in case of peritoneal mesothelioma).
When people inhale or ingest asbestos fibers, they subsequently travel through the bloodstream and the lymphatic system and can easily become embedded in your peritoneum, as they have a rough texture. Over the years, they cause severe scarring and inflammation that may, in turn, give way to cancer. The following are some risk factors for peritoneal cancer:
Despite any knowledge on peritoneal cancer prevention, since it can swiftly spread from one part of your body to the peritoneum, you can avoid certain risk factors by:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- wearing adequate protective equipment when working with asbestos
- receiving treatment for endometriosis