Peritoneal Cancer

Hello..I am here trying to help a dear friend..she has recently been diagnosed with stage 3 peritoneal cancer..she had a hysterectomy a few weeks ago and the dr discovered thats not where the cancer is located. Her family is scared and she is very week and not able to do surgery as of yet. Can any of you enlighten me on this type of cancer?? Thank from the bottom of my heart..garrisongrl

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  • Hello there and welcome.

    I have peritoneal cancer as have many women here.

    Primary peritoneal cancer (PPC) is cancer of the peritoneum which is a very thin, soft sheet rather like cellophane which wraps itself around abdominal organs and then doubles up over the front.

    Its function is to keep organs in place and to provide lubrication so structures in the abdomen slide gently as we move avoiding friction.

    The peritoneum has the same embryonic origin as the material which covers the ovaries which is the connection.

    Like some kinds of Ovarian, some types of PPC are thought to begin in the Fallopian tube.

    It's a difficult disease to treat surgically but lots of patients have a hysterectomy and sometimes the omentum is removed (a fatty apron in the abdomen) at the same time. This is called debulking when as much of the disease is removed as possible. Not all patients are offered surgery.

    Then a patient is usually offered chemotherapy if the disease has spread in the abdomen though this depends on the grade. Different types of PPC can have their own treatment regimes.

    The disease, like Ovarian, can be managed with medication but your friend will need a lot of support emotionally if that's what she wants.

    Having this diagnosis can be very frightening but there are lots of supportive friends here which I've been very thankful for. You (or your friend) can ring the nurse-led Ovacome helpline for information and advice which is staffed by experienced nurses who know the disease inside out and up and down. Xxx

  • Well if your friends had hysterectomy a few weeks ago, she will be very frail and sore and tired. She should barely be able to lift a cup of tea. So they normally wait for six weeks after treatment to discuss whether chemotherapy or further surgery is needed or not. Best way to help her at the moment is offer to do her shopping, hoovering change her bedlinen etc as she would be unable to tackle these chores. The Ovacome helpline is also there for her to ask questions and if there is a Macmillan Centre in her hospital, that would be another place to get information.

  • I am always a bit anxious when I write how was it for me. It seems that although there are some common experiences, how our bodies re-act can be so different. But...here goes....I had my first operation in December 2013 to remove a large tumour that had wrapped itself around the gall bladder so that came out too. Big op...fortunately I only realised this afterwards! Cheno was then offered to start when I had recovered - about 6 weeks. Saw oncologist who noticed another tumour on the CT scan that had actually been there before the first operation. So, as soon as I was up to it, it was more surgery to remove the omentum, ovaries, fallopian tubes etc. This was at the end of February 2014. I started chemo six weeks later which finally finished in June 2014. These sort of operations really do take it out of you. I had a hysterectomy in 1992 and remember how weak I felt too. The only good thing last year was that, between operation, I had to keep my strength and weight up so it was back to full cream milk and chocolate!! It seems that for most of us the diagnosis and treatment takes time. It was only after the second op that they finally diagnosed PPC and even now don't know the origin. One way you or her family can help is to help her prepare for any consultations and accompanying her to these. I always went with a list of questions and my husband wrote down the answers so that I could listen to what was being said. It also helped afterwards to talk about what had been said. So...it is now 2 years since it all kicked off. I am still not 100% but can do all I was doing before and am off to New Zealand for four weeks just after Christmas. This disease really takes it out of you emotionally and physically and it does take a long time to complete each stage - diagnosis, treatment and recovery. I hope your friend begins to feel stronger and that with your support and that of her family she will get through. Val x

  • My mum had this diagnosis in April, she has had 3 lots of chemo followed by the removal of the omentum, which the biopsy result was ovarian cell within the omentum, and is starting chemo again 5th November, she was diagnosed as stage 4, on the whole she is doing very well

  • I was diagnosed stage four advanced peritoneal dec 2013 was told surgery not an option was put on chemo had three drains to remove fluid before chemo started after chemo had finished they decided go ahead with surgery after all the twelveonths after diagnosis was the worst time but this year as been loads better still get tired if I overdo things and few problems with leg since chemo but all in all back to a new kind of normal this is going to be hard going for your friend but just be there for her and help convince her she is strong enough to fight it and just to take one day at a time x

  • Hi Garrisongrl. My second attempt to reply as last one ended up floating around in cyberspace ! The other lovely women have given such detailed answers and advice that I can only add my own experience for what it's worth . I was diagnosed with stage 3 PPC in 2011 and was given the standard treatment of 3 weekly carboplatin and Taxol until I was pronounced in remission at the end of that. Surgery was never discussed as I had no large tumours . Just seedlets of cancer in the peritineum and they had drained 8 litres of ascites before treatment. I was then checked every 3 months alternatively by gynaecologist or Junior oncology Dr . Recently I was told I would just be seen by the gynae every 6 months. From the beginning I decided to go alone to my check ups as I didn't want to worry family and friends but I do think having someone with you must give you extra control over your situation so I am rethinking that. This is where your friend is so lucky to have you . You are obviously getting as much information for her as you can and she can freely discuss it with you. I was so intent on not making friends and family worried that after a while they even forgot I was still not out of the woods. Plus I put on weight rather than lose it and my skin has never looked better. I am putting that down to some strange Botox effect of chemo ! I also found that joining a support group and doing meditation and tai chi etc was so helpful. Having this disease can leave you feeling isolated and a bit hopeless but I see a Cancer psychologist regularly and that is so beneficial. Your friend is just after major surgery and is bound to be a bit weak and low. She may not need more surgery as they may just opt for chemo and many women tolerate that very well as luckily I did. I hope the fact that I am still standing and going into my 5th year clear will give your friend hope that there can be light at the end of the tunnel. Take care good friend

    XXX

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