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Peritoneal Cancer Stages

A Guide To The Four Different Peritoneal Cancer Stages And An Explanation Of The Cancer's Grades.

Peritoneal cancer stages are graded in the same way as stages of ovarian cancer, which is in terms of the regulations established by the International Federation of Gynacology and Obstetrics. The grading is undertaken in this way as the symptoms of peritoneal cancer, which affects the inner lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum), are almost identical to those of ovarian cancer. There are four distinct peritoneal cancer stages. The first stage involves the mesothelial cells that make up the peritoneum undergoing pre-cancerous changes, and the symptoms generated during this stage, like loss of appetite and abdominal bloating, are easily mistaken for symptoms of other conditions. The second of the peritoneal cancer stages sees an increase in the number of infected peritoneal cells, but, again, symptoms are not dramatic and the disease is rarely correctly identified at this stage.

The third of the peritoneal cancer stages sees the cancer spreading to even larger areas on the peritoneum and, possibly, the formation of tiny cancerous cysts on other organs like the small bowel. Stage 4 is when the cancer has metastasized to other, non-adjacent, organs like the liver and is the terminal stage of the disease. As it is only during peritoneal cancer stages 3 and 4 that the major debilitating symptoms are experienced, most diagnoses are made when patients have already reached these peritoneal cancer stages. This is unfortunate as, although the spread of the stage 3 or 4 disease may be retarded, the cancer will not be eradicated and the condition is fatal.

Apart from the four peritoneal cancer stages, there are also three different peritoneal cancer grades, where a "grade" is an indication of how fast the cancer is spreading. Although peritoneal cancer is considered aggressive in all three grades, a grade 1 spreads the slowest and a grade 3, the fastest. For the best treatment results, doctors should catch the disease in the early peritoneal cancer stages.

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