Peritoneal tumours refer to a variety of cancers that affect the peritoneum - a thin membrane that lines the abdominal and pelvic cavities. Learn about its causes, symptoms and treatment.
Peritoneal cancer refers to cancers involving the peritoneum (a thin membrane that lines the abdominal and pelvic cavities) and some of the abdominal organs. These include:
- Large and small intestines
- Pelvic organs
Causes of Peritoneal Cancer
Tumours spreading to the peritoneum can be caused by:
- Ovarian cancer
- Carcinoma of the appedix or PMP, which is a group of peritoneal tumours frequently associated with an appendiceal tumour
- Colorectal cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Other cacers that start from organs within the abdominal cavity
- Gallbladder cancer
Tunours arising from the peritoneum may be caused by:
- Maligant mesothelioma
- Primary peritonral cancer
Symptoms of Peritoneal Cancer
Although patients with peritoneal cancer may not exhibit any symptoms, some have been known to:
- Have abdominal pain, abdominal swelling or bloating
- Have a chage in bowel habits such as recurrent diarrhoea or constipation
- Bleeding when passing motion
- Masses in the abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
Treatment of Peritoneal Cancer
The 3-step treatment of peritoneal cancer includes:
- CRS (Cytoreductive Surgery)
- HIPEC (Hypothermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy)
CRS (Cytoreductive Surgery) aims to remove all visible tumours in the abdomen. Intra-abdominal organs that are affected by tumours and ca be safely removed will be resected to ensure that no disease remains.
Next, the removal of the peritoneum (also known as a Peritonectomy) will be performed.
Upon completion of the surgical procedures, HIPEC (Hypothermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy) is administered. Here, a chemotherpay drug is heated to a temperature of 42 degrees celcius and intriduced directly into the abdomial cavity to eliminate microscopic tumours that are invisible to the eyes.
The entire 3-step procedure can take between 4 to 12 hours or longer, depending on the amount of cancer is prevalent within the peritoneal cavity.
After surgery, a patient will be nursed in an intensive care or high-dependency unit, until the patient's condition stabilises where he or she will be transferred to the general ward. Hospitalisation stay is estimated to be between 10 to 14 days.
About 1 to 2 weeks after surgery, the patient will be reviewed by a team of specialists. Following this, a check-up will take place at least once every 3 months, thereafter once a year. The frequency of these visits is likely to decrease as the patient's condition improves.
For more information about peritoneal cancer, please visit the National Cancer Centre Singapore at www.nccs.com.sg