Peritoneal Cancer

What is peritoneal cancer?

The peritoneum is a thin tissue that lines the inside wall of the abdomen and covers the uterus, bladder and rectum. It produces fluid to help organs move smoothly inside the abdomen.

Normally, cells in the body will grow and divide to replace old or damaged cells. This growth is usually precise. Once enough cells are produced to replace the old ones, normal cells stop dividing. Tumors occur when there is an error and cells continue to grow uncontrollably. With peritoneal cancer, a tumor develops from this tissue’s epithelial cells (cells that enclose parts of the body). Primary peritoneal cancer begins in the peritoneum. But secondary peritoneal cancer begins in another organ or place in the body and spreads into the peritoneum. Secondary peritoneal cancer is more common.

Primary peritoneal cancer is more common in women and can act like ovarian cancer, produce similar symptoms and is often treated in the same way. Since its symptoms often go undetected, peritoneal cancer is usually diagnosed at a later stage. Successful treatment of this rare cancer depends on age, stage and location of cancer and other factors.

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