About surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma

Surgery is only suitable for a small number of people with peritoneal mesothelioma. It depends on the stage of the mesothelioma and you need to be well enough to have the surgery.

The operation will be done by a surgeon, who is experienced in the treating peritoneal mesothelioma. You will need to travel to a specialist centre for this surgery.

If your specialist offers you surgery, they will give you more information about what to expect.

Surgery to remove the peritoneum (peritonectomy)

The surgeon will remove most of your peritoneum (peritonectomy). They may also have to remove affected nearby organs. These may include the spleen, the gallbladder, and sometimes part of the bowel. You may also need to have the womb and ovaries removed. People who have a womb and ovaries include women, transgender (trans) men and people assigned female at birth.

If you need part of the bowel removed, you may need to have a bag fitted on your tummy to collect your stools (poo). This is called a stoma. The stoma may be temporary or permanent, depending on the situation.

When the surgeon has removed all or most of the tumours, they may put a heated chemotherapy drug into your tummy. This is called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC).

We have more information about mesothelioma treatment.

About our information

  • References

    Below is a sample of the sources used in our mesothelioma information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at cancerinformationteam@macmillan.org.uk

    Woolhouse I et al. British Thoracic Society Guideline for the investigation and management of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Thorax. 2018.

    Thomas A et al. Mesothelioma. BMJ Best Practice. 2019.

    Baas P et al. Malignant pleural mesothelioma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.  Annals of Oncology. 26 (Supplement 5): v31–v39. 2015. Available from: www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26223247

    Kusamara S et al. Peritoneal mesothelioma: PSOGI/EURACAN clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. European Journal of Surgical Oncology. March 2020.


  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Dr David Gilligan, Consultant Clinical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.