Peritoneal surface malignancy, commonly known as peritoneal carcinomatosis, is cancer within the peritoneal cavity. The peritoneal cavity is the space between the organs in the abdomen and is lined by the peritoneum, which is normally a thin protective membrane.
The peritoneum is a very complex membrane. It has an outer layer called the parietal peritoneum that is attached to the abdominal and pelvic walls. It also has an inner layer – the visceral peritoneum – that is wrapped around some of the abdominal organs. The space between these two layers is called the peritoneal cavity. It is filled with a fluid that lubricates the layers and allows them to slide past each other.
Most cancers in the peritoneum begin in another part of the body. Cancers of the appendix, colon, rectum, stomach and ovaries commonly spread to the nearby peritoneum. However, breast cancer and other cancers originally outside of the abdomen can also spread to the peritoneal membrane.
For many years, peritoneal surface malignancies were considered inoperable. This is because the peritoneum extends over a large area and also because these cancers tend to affect multiple organs. Performing surgery to remove the cancer would be a long, complex process. The risks associated with operating on several organs were not thought to be worth the limited benefits of the surgery.
Also, because the peritoneum is almost completely divided from the bloodstream (this is called the peritoneal-plasma barrier), chemotherapy delivered through an IV has little effect in treating these cancers.
For further more details, Contact Dr.S.Ayyappan has specialised in Peritoneal Surface Malignancies performed many number of Cytoreductive and HIPEC Surgeries for diseases which are considered as inoperable.