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Primary Peritoneal Cancer (PPC) 

What is primary peritoneal cancer?

Primary peritoneal cancer (PPC) occurs in the lining of organs in the abdomen, called the peritoneum. It can occur in any of the organs within the abdomen and anywhere within the abdominal cavity. 

It is a close relative of epithelial ovarian cancer, and it primarily affects females over the age of 60. 

What are the symptoms of primary peritoneal cancer?

Symptoms of this cancer are typically gastrointestinal, and they include abdominal bloating, changes in bowel habits, early feelings of fullness, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and blockage of the intestines. 

What causes primary peritoneal cancer?

The exact cause of this cancer is unknown. Mutations occur in the cells of the peritoneum, which then multiply rapidly and out of control. 

How is primary peritoneal cancer diagnosed?

A diagnosis typically comes when women see their doctors for abdominal swelling, which is followed by a CT scan. Doctors will then rule out other more common forms of cancer. They will confirm a diagnosis of primary peritoneal cancer through a paracentesis, which is a procedure in which doctors take fluid from the abdomen with a needle.

After a diagnosis is confirmed, doctors must find the stage of the cancer. They do so through the same methods used to stage ovarian cancer. Surgical staging is used, which entails removing all visible signs of the disease, as well as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. Depending on the patient, the lymph nodes, omentum, and other organs may also need to be removed. A stage will then be assigned, and they range from stage I to IV. 

What are the treatments for primary peritoneal cancer?

Surgery and chemotherapy are the main ways in which this cancer is treated. Physicians will decide on the best course of treatment depending on the stage, grade, size, and location of the cancer. They will also take age and overall health into account. 

Where can I find out more about primary peritoneal cancer?

Primary Peritoneal Cancer Articles