Peritoneal Cancer

Peritoneal cancer is a rare cancer that develops in the tissue that lines the abdomen. The uterus, ovaries, bladder, and rectum also are made of peritoneal tissue. This membrane is called the peritoneum.

Peritoneal cancer can be mistaken for ovarian cancer. They cause similar symptoms, but you can still develop peritoneal cancer even if your ovaries have been removed.

Peritoneal Cancer Symptoms

There are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages of peritoneal cancer. As it progresses, you may notice:

  • Abdominal discomfort or pain from gas, indigestion, pressure, swelling, bloating, or cramps
  • Feeling of fullness, even after a light meal
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Frequent urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Shortness of breath 

Peritoneal Cancer Treatment

Your treatment will depend on the characteristics of the cancer, its stage, your general health, and your preferences.

Treatment options include:

  • Surgery – may be required to remove small tumors; in more advanced stages, you may need your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus removed, as well
  • Chemotherapy – you may receive chemotherapy drugs by injection or through a catheter that delivers medication directly into the abdomen
  • Palliative care – in advanced stages, supportive care can help relieve pain and fluid buildup and assist with weight loss

Supporting You Every Step of the Way

At UT Southwestern, care does not stop with treatment of the malignancy. Our team is just as concerned about your nutrition, pain control, and psychological and social adjustments, as well as the impact of cancer on your family.

If you have questions, be sure to talk with your physician or another member of your clinical care team.