Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma: A Comprehensive Guide

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma – Peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lining of the abdomen, can manifest in various ways. Early signs may be subtle, but as the disease progresses, symptoms become more pronounced and impact daily life. Understanding these symptoms is crucial for timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

This comprehensive guide explores the common and less common symptoms associated with peritoneal mesothelioma, providing insights into their progression, impact on different body systems, and the importance of seeking medical attention when they arise.

Symptoms and Signs

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare cancer that starts in the peritoneum, a thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen and covers the organs within it. The early signs and symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are often vague and may be mistaken for other conditions.

As the disease advances, the symptoms become more severe and may include abdominal pain, bloating, weight loss, and fatigue.

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Progression of Symptoms

The progression of symptoms in peritoneal mesothelioma can vary from person to person. In general, the early signs and symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Bloating or swelling of the abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea

As the disease advances, the symptoms may become more severe and may include:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Ascites (fluid buildup in the abdomen)
  • Cachexia (extreme weight loss)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

Common Symptoms and Frequency

The following table Artikels the common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma and their frequency:

Symptom Frequency
Abdominal pain 80-90%
Bloating 70-80%
Weight loss 60-70%
Fatigue 50-60%
Nausea and vomiting 40-50%
Constipation or diarrhea 30-40%
Ascites 20-30%
Jaundice 10-20%
Shortness of breath 10-20%

Abdominal Manifestations

Abdominal manifestations of peritoneal mesothelioma are a common and often debilitating symptom. They can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and overall well-being.

One of the most common abdominal manifestations is pain and discomfort. The pain can be localized to a specific area of the abdomen or more generalized. It may be sharp, dull, or aching and can range in intensity from mild to severe.

Bloating, Nausea, and Vomiting

Bloating, nausea, and vomiting are also common abdominal manifestations of peritoneal mesothelioma. Bloating is caused by the accumulation of fluid or gas in the abdomen. It can lead to feelings of fullness, tightness, and discomfort. Nausea is a feeling of queasiness and an urge to vomit.

Vomiting is the involuntary expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth.

Bowel Obstruction and Other Gastrointestinal Issues

In some cases, peritoneal mesothelioma can lead to bowel obstruction. This occurs when a tumor blocks the passage of food and waste through the intestines. Symptoms of bowel obstruction include constipation, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Other gastrointestinal issues that may occur with peritoneal mesothelioma include diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, and weight loss.

Systemic Effects: Symptoms Of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen, can lead to a range of systemic effects that impact the overall well-being and daily functioning of individuals. These effects, including fatigue, weakness, and weight loss, are often debilitating and can significantly impair quality of life.

The mechanisms behind these systemic effects are complex and involve the release of inflammatory mediators, alterations in metabolism, and disruptions in immune function. These factors contribute to the development of symptoms that extend beyond the abdominal cavity, affecting the entire body.


Fatigue is a common and debilitating symptom experienced by many individuals with peritoneal mesothelioma. It is characterized by an overwhelming sense of tiredness, lack of energy, and reduced physical and mental capacity. This fatigue can interfere with daily activities, making it difficult to perform tasks, engage in social interactions, or maintain a normal routine.

The exact cause of fatigue in peritoneal mesothelioma is not fully understood, but it is believed to be multifactorial. Inflammatory mediators released by the tumor can lead to systemic inflammation, which can contribute to fatigue. Additionally, disruptions in metabolism and alterations in immune function can further exacerbate fatigue.


Weakness is another common symptom associated with peritoneal mesothelioma. It is characterized by a lack of strength and reduced muscle function. This weakness can affect both the upper and lower extremities, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as walking, climbing stairs, or lifting objects.

The mechanisms underlying weakness in peritoneal mesothelioma are similar to those causing fatigue. Inflammatory mediators and disruptions in metabolism can lead to muscle weakness and impaired physical function. Additionally, the presence of ascites, a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity, can further contribute to weakness by putting pressure on the muscles and limiting their ability to function properly.

Weight Loss

Unintentional weight loss is a common symptom of peritoneal mesothelioma. It can occur due to several factors, including decreased appetite, malabsorption of nutrients, and increased metabolic rate.

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Decreased appetite is often associated with the systemic effects of peritoneal mesothelioma, such as fatigue and weakness. These symptoms can make it difficult for individuals to engage in meal preparation and eating. Additionally, the presence of ascites can put pressure on the stomach and intestines, leading to feelings of fullness and reduced appetite.

Malabsorption of nutrients can also contribute to weight loss in peritoneal mesothelioma. The presence of ascites can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from the intestines, leading to deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Furthermore, disruptions in metabolism can increase the body’s energy requirements, leading to weight loss.

Respiratory Symptoms

Peritoneal mesothelioma can manifest with respiratory symptoms due to its involvement of the pleura, which lines the lungs and chest cavity. The disease can affect lung function and lead to respiratory distress.

Shortness of Breath

As peritoneal mesothelioma progresses, it can cause shortness of breath, particularly when lying down or engaging in physical activities. This occurs because the disease can lead to the accumulation of fluid in the pleural space, a condition known as pleural effusion.


Coughing is another common respiratory symptom associated with peritoneal mesothelioma. The cough may be dry or produce clear or blood-tinged sputum. It can be persistent and worsen at night or when lying down.

Pleural Effusion

Pleural effusion is a hallmark symptom of peritoneal mesothelioma. The accumulation of fluid in the pleural space can compress the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. This can lead to shortness of breath, chest pain, and decreased lung function.

Other Manifestations

Peritoneal mesothelioma often presents with nonspecific symptoms that can mimic other conditions. In addition to the common symptoms, some less common manifestations may also occur.

These include:


Fever is a common symptom of many infections and inflammatory conditions. In the case of peritoneal mesothelioma, fever may be a sign of infection or inflammation within the peritoneal cavity.

Night Sweats

Night sweats are another common symptom of many infections and inflammatory conditions. In the case of peritoneal mesothelioma, night sweats may be a sign of fever or other systemic effects of the disease.

Skin Changes

Skin changes can also occur in some cases of peritoneal mesothelioma. These changes may include:

  • Skin thickening
  • Skin discoloration
  • Skin rashes

These skin changes may be a sign of underlying inflammation or other systemic effects of the disease.

Differential Diagnosis, Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma

It is important to note that the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma can mimic those of other conditions. These include:

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Therefore, it is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis if you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above.


The symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma can vary widely, but recognizing the common signs and seeking prompt medical evaluation is essential. Early detection and treatment can significantly improve outcomes and enhance the quality of life for patients.

Question & Answer Hub

What are the early signs of peritoneal mesothelioma?

Abdominal pain, bloating, and fatigue are common early symptoms.

How does peritoneal mesothelioma affect the respiratory system?

As the tumor grows, it can compress the lungs, leading to shortness of breath and coughing.

What are the systemic effects of peritoneal mesothelioma?

Fatigue, weight loss, and weakness are common systemic effects due to the release of inflammatory cytokines.