Q:

How do you know if you have peritoneal cancer?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of peritoneal cancer can include nausea, constipation, frequent urination, abnormal vaginal bleeding, rectal bleeding and shortness of breath, according to WebMD. Feelings of fullness, even after a light meal, bloating, cramps and abdominal discomfort from gas can also be warning signs.

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Full Answer

Peritoneal cancer is a rare cancer that occurs with more frequency in women than in men. Symptoms of peritoneal cancer tend to resemble those of ovarian cancer, and women at risk for ovarian cancer are also at an increased risk for peritoneal cancer, notes WebMD. When symptoms become apparent it is usually because the disease has already progressed, making peritoneal cancer difficult to detect in its early stages.

Peritoneal cancer develops in the peritoneum, which is a layer of tissue that lines the abdomen, uterus, bladder and rectum, explains WebMD. The peritoneum is made of epithelial cells and produces a fluid that facilitates smooth organ movement within the abdomen. Treatment of peritoneal cancer usually involves surgery, chemotherapy and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, or HIPEC. HIPEC is a form of heated chemotherapy that is directed into the peritoneum after surgery has been completed; it is commonly used to treat peritoneal cancer that has spread from the appendix, colon or stomach.

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