Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that forms in the lining of the abdomen. The only known cause of peritoneal mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. While there is no cure for this cancer, patients may have a positive prognosis (health outlook) thanks to innovative treatments. Lung Cancer Group may be able to help you access treatments and financial aid for peritoneal mesothelioma.

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What Is Peritoneal Mesothelioma?

Peritoneal MesotheliomaPeritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common type of mesothelioma. It affects the peritoneum, the thin lining of the abdomen.

While symptoms, like stomach bloating and pain, may not develop until the cancer is advanced, peritoneal mesothelioma has a better prognosis than many other mesothelioma types.

In fact, the average life expectancy for peritoneal mesothelioma is 53 months, but some patients have lived for 15 years or more after their diagnosis.

The best way for peritoneal mesothelioma patients to live longer is to get treated by top mesothelioma specialists around the country.

Lung Cancer Group’s on-staff mesothelioma nurses can help you find the best treatments, top doctors, and financial aid for medical expenses. Connect with a nurse today.

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Mesothelioma Patients

Causes of Peritoneal Mesothelioma Cancer

Peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. If you were exposed to asbestos-containing products like insulation or cement, you could have breathed in or swallowed microscopic asbestos fibers.

These fibers could get trapped in your abdominal lining and cause irritation to healthy cells for decades, eventually leading to mutations that turn healthy cells into peritoneal mesothelioma cells.

Did You Know?

The biggest risk factor of mesothelioma is working in high-risk occupations — construction, firefighting, auto repair, U.S. military service, and more — because asbestos was used so heavily in these jobs.

Others might develop peritoneal mesothelioma if they were exposed to asbestos secondhand, such as when a family member who worked in a high-risk job brought home fibers on their hair or clothing.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

It could take 10-50 years before symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma to develop.

Common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating or swelling
  • Bowel obstruction or constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Fluid buildup in your abdomen (ascites)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Night sweats
  • Unexpected weight loss

When symptoms do appear, they could be mistaken for less serious or more common conditions at first in some cases.

If you are experiencing these symptoms and were exposed to asbestos decades ago, promptly talk with your health care team to get properly diagnosed. By doing so, you may be able to catch this cancer before it spreads.

How to Diagnose Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Doctors can diagnose peritoneal mesothelioma by performing:

  1. Imaging scans: X-rays, CT scans (computed tomography scans), and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging scans) all can help detect the presence and location of abnormal or cancerous cells.
  2. Biopsy and peritoneal fluid analysis: If abnormal growths are detected during imaging scans, doctors will need to perform a biopsy. With this procedure, doctors will take a tissue or fluid sample and look at it under a microscope to see if cancer cells are present. This is the only way to confirm a peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis.

That said, peritoneal mesothelioma may sometimes be misdiagnosed as more common health problems, such as hernias, gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and ovarian cancer.

If you have a history of asbestos exposure and have been diagnosed with a less serious condition, it may help to get a second opinion from a different doctor to rule out a misdiagnosis.

Lung Cancer Group’s on-staff nurses can help you find a mesothelioma specialist so you can get an accurate diagnosis and treatments. Talk with a nurse now to get started.

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Mesothelioma Patients

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Stages

Peritoneal mesothelioma does not follow a typical staging model like other cancers. Doctors may instead classify this cancer into two informal mesothelioma stages: localized or advanced.

Localized peritoneal mesothelioma means the cancer has not spread and tumors are small in size. This stage is closely equivalent to stages 1 and 2 of other cancer staging systems.

Advanced peritoneal mesothelioma indicates that mesothelioma tumors have spread to other parts of the body like the liver, spleen, or ovaries. This is similar to stage 3 and stage 4.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis

The prognosis (expected health outcome) for peritoneal mesothelioma varies from person to person.

Prognosis depends on several factors such as:

  • Age: Younger people usually have better prognoses than older patients as they are more likely able to withstand aggressive treatments and may not suffer from co-occurring conditions or complications.
  • Cell type: Peritoneal mesothelioma tumors can be made up of epithelioid and/or sarcomatoid cancer cells. When both cells are present, a patient has biphasic mesothelioma. The cell type greatly affects prognosis, as epithelioid mesothelioma cells are easier to treat than the others.
  • Cancer stage: If peritoneal mesothelioma is diagnosed in earlier stages, it is more likely to respond well to treatment and result in a better prognosis. Patients with more advanced stages may have a poorer prognosis since the cancer might not respond well to treatments.
  • Overall health: People who don’t have other health problems besides cancer tend to have better prognoses, as their bodies may be able to recover faster from treatments..

All of these factors contribute to two estimates that make up a patient’s prognosis: life expectancy and survival rate.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

Life expectancy refers to how many months a person may live after their diagnosis.

The average life expectancy for peritoneal mesothelioma is 53 months, if patients receive treatment.

It is important to remember that this number is only an estimate, and many people may outlive their life expectancy.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Survival rate is an estimate of how many patients will be still be living after a certain amount of time.

The 5-year survival rate for peritoneal mesothelioma is 65%, according to the Moffitt Cancer Center. This means that 65% of patients will survive for 5 years or more after their diagnosis.

The best way for patients to improve their life expectancy and survival rate is to seek top mesothelioma treatments.

Top Treatments for Peritoneal Mesothelioma

The most common treatment options for peritoneal mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. Learn about some of the top mesothelioma treatments and how they can help patients below.

Cytoreductive Surgery With HIPEC

The most common treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma is cytoreductive surgery combined with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC).

This treatment is a two-part process that:

  1. Surgically removes all visible tumors in the peritoneum
  2. Treats the surgical site with heated chemotherapy drugs to kill any remaining cancer cells

This procedure is the benchmark for peritoneal mesothelioma treatment, with patients living for over 4 years on average. Some patients can achieve remission, which means that the cancer is not growing or spreading, with this treatment.


If a patient needs to continue receiving treatment after undergoing cytoreduction with HIPEC or if they were not a good candidate for surgery, they may need to receive systemic chemotherapy.

Systemic chemotherapy is when a patient receives one or more chemotherapy drugs through an IV. The drugs then travel in the blood and fight cancer cells throughout the body.

A combination of the chemotherapy drugs cisplatin and pemetrexed has been shown to improve the life expectancy of peritoneal mesothelioma patients by nearly 5 months.


Immunotherapy boosts the immune system to help the body fight infection, cancer, and other conditions. Immunotherapies can affect the whole immune system or only target certain cells.

Many immunotherapies are PD-1 inhibitors. This means they turn off PD-1, a protein found on T cells. The body produces T cells to kill cancer cells and other bad cells, and PD-1 helps regulate which cells are destroyed.

But, mesothelioma cells can sometimes hide from T cells. By inhibiting the PD-1 protein on T cells, they can find the cancer cells again and destroy them.

Zimberelimab, a PD-1 inhibitor, combined with chemotherapy drugs showed success for one peritoneal mesothelioma patient. His tumors significantly decreased in size, and he had no signs of cancer progression for 7 months following treatment.

Palliative Care

Patients with advanced peritoneal mesothelioma may be eligible for surgery and chemotherapy that can help ease symptoms and improve quality of life, known as palliative care.

One common palliative care procedure is a paracentesis, which collects peritoneal fluid from the abdomen to relieve stomach pain caused by fluid buildup.

Doctors may also provide medication to reduce pain and manage side effects, and support groups can help provide psychological and emotional support.

Get help finding treatment options for peritoneal mesothelioma by contacting our on-staff nurses now. Our team has decades of experience helping patients get the best treatments to improve life expectancy.

Speak With a Mesothelioma Nurse
  • Find Top Doctors and Treatments
  • Connect You With Clinical Trials
  • Answer Medical Questions
Talk with Amy

Amy Fair
20+ Years Helping
Mesothelioma Patients

Top Peritoneal Mesothelioma Doctors

Peritoneal mesothelioma is very rare, so you’ll want to see the best oncologists (cancer doctors) who specifically treat it.

Some of these mesothelioma specialists include:

  • Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler leads the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center’s mesothelioma program. She specializes in chemotherapy and leads clinical trials to bring novel treatments to mesothelioma patients.
  • Dr. James Pingpank leads the mesothelioma program at the University of Pittsburgh Hillman Cancer Center in Pennsylvania. He has extensive experience in treating peritoneal mesothelioma with cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC.
  • Dr. Richard Alexander is the Chief Surgical Officer at Rutgers Cancer Institute in New Jersey. He has over 40 years of experience and is internationally known for his research on peritoneal mesothelioma.
  • Dr. Mecker Möller is a surgical oncologist leading the peritoneal mesothelioma HIPEC program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She has more than 15 years of experience treating peritoneal mesothelioma.

These are only a few of the top mesothelioma doctors who specialize in peritoneal mesothelioma. There are many more across the nation. Call our on-staff nurses now at (877) 446-5767 so they can help you find top doctors near you.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survivor Stories

Although peritoneal mesothelioma is very aggressive, some people have outlived the average prognosis and become long-term survivors.

Here are some inspiring peritoneal mesothelioma survivor stories:

  • Paul has survived peritoneal mesothelioma for over 25 years. While he is not considered cancer-free, the cancer has not spread. He is considered one of the longest-living mesothelioma survivors.
  • Julie was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2006 at the age of 35. She was told she would likely not survive for more than a year, but thanks to aggressive treatments she is still alive today — almost 20 years later. Julie continues to thrive with her family as her cancer is now stable.
  • Mary Jane survived peritoneal mesothelioma for 15 years, and doctors declared her cancer-free thanks to chemotherapy and surgery.
  • Dennis worked for years as a mechanic, where he was exposed every day to asbestos. He was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma at the age of 52 and continued to fight for 6 years.

Compensation Options for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Patients

Peritoneal mesothelioma treatment can be expensive, even with insurance. But, many mesothelioma patients have been able to afford their life-extending treatment thanks to multiple financial assistance options.

Compensation options for patients and families include:

  • Asbestos trust funds, which were set up by bankrupt asbestos companies so victims could get compensation from them. There is over $30 billion available in asbestos trusts in 2023.
  • Personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by patients or their surviving family members to recover compensation from companies that made and sold asbestos-based products despite knowing the risks. The settlements for mesothelioma lawsuits can range between $1 and $1.4 million, with some patients getting even more.
  • VA benefits help U.S. veterans with mesothelioma through monthly disability payments, sometimes nearly $4,000 per month, and help them access mesothelioma treatment through VA health care.

Contact our team now to see if you’re eligible for financial compensation after a peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis.

Find Help After a Peritoneal Mesothelioma Diagnosis

If you or a loved one is feeling overwhelmed after a peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis, Lung Cancer Group is here for you.

Our caring and dedicated nurses and Patient Advocates can:

  • Answer questions or concerns you have
  • Connect you with top doctors and cancer centers
  • Help you secure financial aid to cover any costs
  • Walk with you through your entire cancer journey

Call (877) 446-5767 or speak to our mesothelioma nurses to learn more about how we can help you. The assistance you need is just around the corner.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma FAQs

What are the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma?

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Digestive changes
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Unexplained weight loss

However, these symptoms are often mistaken for less serious conditions. Talk with your health care team immediately if you are having these symptoms and were ever exposed to asbestos.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by asbestos, a cancer-causing mineral that was used in thousands of products prior to the early 1980s.

When you breathe in or swallow microscopic asbestos fibers, they can settle within your body and cause irritation and scarring. After 10-50 years, this damage can cause normal cells to turn into cancerous peritoneal mesothelioma cells.

The average life expectancy for a peritoneal mesothelioma patient who receives treatment is 53 months. However, some patients can live years or even a decade or more with treatment.

How long you can live with peritoneal mesothelioma depends on the treatments you receive, your health and age, and other factors.

Peritoneal mesothelioma has a 5-year survival rate of about 65%. This means that 65% of patients diagnosed with this type of cancer live for 5 years or more.

Lung Cancer Group was established by a team of caring advocates so those with lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases can get the help they deserve. Our site provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about lung cancer, its link to asbestos, and financial compensation available to patients. Contact us to learn more and get assistance.

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  2. Canadian Cancer Society. (n.d.) Survival statistics for mesothelioma. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from
  3. Canadian Cancer Society. (n.d.) Treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from
  4. Cleveland Clinic. (2022). Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from
  5. Enomoto, L. M., Shen, P., Levine, E. A., & Votanopoulos, K. I. (2019). Cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy for peritoneal mesothelioma: Patient selection and special considerations. Cancer Management and Research. Retrieved November 6, 2023, from
  6. Greenbaum, A., & Alexander, H. R. (2020). Peritoneal mesothelioma. Translational Lung Cancer Research. Retrieved November 6, 2023, from
  7. Kim, J., Bhagwandin, S., & Labow, D. M. (2017). Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma: a review. Annals of Translational Medicine. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from
  8. MD Anderson Cancer Center. (2021). 6 things to know about peritoneal mesothelioma. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from
  9. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. (n.d.). Symptoms of Peritoneal & Pleural Mesothelioma Cancers. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from
  10. Moffitt Cancer Center. (n.d.). Mesothelioma Survival Rate. Retrieved November 6, 2023, from
  11. Peng, X. D., You, Z. Y., He, L. X., & Deng, Q. (2023). Zimberelimab plus chemotherapy as the first-line treatment of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma: A case report and review of literature. World Journal of Clinical Cases. Retrieved November 6, 2023, from
  12. Salo, S., Ilonen, I., Laaksonen, S., et al. (2019) Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma: Treatment Options and Survival. Anticancer Research. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from
  13. Shavelle, R., Vavra-Musser, K., Lee, J., & Brooks, J. (2017). Life Expectancy in Pleural and Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Lung Cancer International. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from
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