Peritoneal Cancer

Peritoneal cancer or peritoneal metastases is cancer spread to the peritoneum- a thin membrane lining the walls of the abdominal cavity and the organs within it.

The diagram shows the abdominal cavity, its contents and the peritoneum lining. The deeper blue represents areas of the visceral peritoneum. The lighter shade of blue indicates the parietal peritoneum (lining the wall of the cavity).

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The figure shows the details of calculating the peritoneal cancer index (PCI).

The diagram shows some common origins of peritoneal cancer: 1- ovary; 2- stomach;  3-appendix; 4-colon and rectum; 5- the peritoneum itself. 

  • Primary tumor site: Patients with colorectal, appendicular, ovarian cancer have a better outcome than other cancers.
  • Extent of metastatic spread: When multiple organs have tumor deposits, cure is usually not possible. Patients with disease limited to the peritoneum can be treated aggressively with a greater chance of cure.
  • Extent of peritoneal spread: Patients whose peritoneal cancer is very extensive or has spread to other organs as well may not be candidates for cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC . If there are only 2 or 3 tumor deposits in the liver or lung, they can be removed along with removal of the peritoneal disease, but when the disease is more widespread, surgery is not possible.