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About Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a disease in which cancerous cells form in the peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdomen. Mesothelioma can also occur in the chest and scrotum.


These are signs of peritoneal mesothelioma:

  • Pain or swelling in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation

Many other health problems can also cause these signs. If you have any of these signs, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

Learn more about mesothelioma from the National Cancer Institute.

Image of the Peritoneum

Peritoneal mesothelioma forms in the thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of the abdomen and covers the organs in the abdomen.
Peritoneal mesothelioma forms in the thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of the abdomen and covers the organs in the abdomen.

Specialties & Treatments

Huntsman Cancer Institute offers different types of treatment for people with peritoneal mesothelioma. The treatment or combination of treatments each patient has depends on the stage of the cancer, recommendations of the care team, and the patient’s wishes. These are the most common types of treatment:

Learn more about types of cancer treatments.

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Causes & Risk Factors

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean you are sure to get cancer. It means your chances are higher than the average person’s. Talk with your doctor to learn more about your cancer risk.

Being exposed to asbestos and abdominal radiation can increase your chances of getting peritoneal mesothelioma. However, most cases are not related to asbestos.

Learn more about cancer screenings and ways to prevent cancer.

Diagnosis & Stages


Doctors use these tests to diagnose peritoneal mesothelioma:

  • Physical exam and history: A health care provider examines your body for signs of disease. Your personal health habits, past illnesses, and symptoms help guide the exam.
  • Imaging tests (including chest x-rays): Using dyes, x-rays, magnets, radio waves, and/or computer technology, your health care provider can create detailed images of internal organs. Your health care provider may inject or have you swallow a dye to help see the images.
  • Biopsy: The health care provider removes cell or tissue samples so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer.


Cancer stages show if cancer has spread to other parts of the body. There is no standard staging system for peritoneal mesothelioma.

To recommend treatments, your health care team will consider the following:

  • The amount and location of mesothelioma in the abdomen
  • Whether the disease has spread into the lymph nodes or outside the abdomen
  • Whether the mesothelioma can be removed with surgery

When cancer spreads from where it started to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. These metastatic cancer cells are the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if peritoneal mesothelioma spreads to the bone, the cancer cells in the bone are actually peritoneal mesothelioma cells. The disease is metastatic peritoneal mesothelioma, not bone cancer.

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