Abdominal swelling or tenderness is an uncomfortable feeling related to an abnormally larger stomach area than normal. There are numerous causes that may result in abdominal swelling or tenderness, including peritoneal mesothelioma, which is a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. This natural mineral was widely used during the 20th before being proven toxic and the cause of diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other conditions.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is one of the four types of mesothelioma and the second most common of them, accounting for about 20 percent of all cases. It is named after the location where is first develops, the peritoneum, which is a protective membrane that covers the abdomen. It has two layers, which are the parietal layer that surrounds the abdominal cavity, and the visceral layer that is found around the stomach, liver and other abdominal organs, while mesothelioma tumors can develop in each or both of these layers.

How Abdominal Swelling or Tenderness Affects Patients with Mesothelioma

The study “Peritoneal Mesothelioma: A Review” analyzed the features of the disease and revealed that abdominal swelling is the second most common symptom of peritoneal mesothelioma, experienced by 31% of patients. It is among the consequences of irritated tissue in the abdomen due to asbestos exposure. When this material interacts with other materials, fibers are released into the air. These can be either inhaled or swallowed and travel throughout the body, as the body is unable to properly expel them.

In the case of peritoneal mesothelioma, they can either go from the digestive system to the peritoneum or through the lymphatic system to the abdomen. The cells in the abdomen become irritated, causing the thickening of the peritoneal lining and buildup of fluid. Despite the fact that the majority of symptoms are only experienced in advanced stages of the disease, abdominal swelling or tenderness is one of the first symptoms experienced. Patients feel the belly distended, which may be accompanied by pain and gas. Since abdominal swelling is a symptom of many diseases, diagnosis may be delayed.

Management of Abdominal Swelling or Tenderness by Mesothelioma Patients

There is currently no cure for mesothelioma, but there are therapeutic options that help patients live better with less aggressive symptoms. Therefore, in order to address abdominal swelling or tenderness, physicians need to treat the cancer itself. Cystoreductive surgery is the only currently available surgical procedure for this form of cancer, and it consists of removing the tumors in the abdomen. During the procedure, before or after it, the physician may also recommend the use of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy is the most common course of treatment and it may be administered either alone or directly to the abdomen during surgery. Radiation therapy is the least invasive type of treatment, and it may also be delivered in one of the two ways. Palliative care may be considered for patients in more advanced stages of peritoneal mesothelioma when the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body, making more difficult and risky to undergo aggressive treatments. In addition, physicians may recommend dietary and lifestyle alterations to reduce abdominal swelling or tenderness such as drinking plenty of fluids, eating smaller amounts of food several times a day, avoiding spicy foods, caffeine and foods high in fat, as well as not taking non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen.

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