Peritoneal Cancer: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Peritoneal Cancer: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments


By Dr. Sanjaya Mishra, Oncology

Peritoneal cancer is a rare type of cancer which forms in the thin tissue layer present in the abdomen lining. This layer of tissue also lines the bladder, rectum and the uterus. The peritoneal structure is made up of epithelial cells; its role is to produce fluids which facilitate the smooth movement of organs in the stomach. It is commonly confused with stomach cancer as some symptoms are similar.


The exact cause of peritoneal cancer is not known. This cancer affects mostly women and the elderly; men are usually not affected by it. The cause of peritoneal cancer is linked to modification in a gene that is in turn connected to breast and ovarian cancer. Having a family history of peritoneal cancer puts one at greater risks of this disorder.


It is difficult to detect signs of peritoneal cancer in its early stages. The symptoms are quite similar to those of ovarian cancer. One may experience symptoms of nausea, constipation and loss of appetite. Some other common symptoms are fluctuations in weight, breathing difficulties and bleeding from the vagina.


The treatment options for peritoneal cancer are –

  1. Surgery: Surgical treatment for peritoneal cancer involves surgical removal of the fallopian tubes, uterus and the ovaries. If cancer has spread to other parts, then they need to be removed as well.
  2. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is another option for the treatment of peritoneal cancer. In this treatment, medications are injected into the body in order to kill the cancer cells.
  3. HIPEC: HIPEC or Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal chemotherapy is a treatment option wherein heated chemotherapy is administered to the peritoneal tissues. This is used when cancer has spread to other parts of the body.