Peritoneal cancer refers to cancer that develops within or more commonly, has spread to the peritoneum from other organs within the abdomen (known as peritoneal metastases). The peritoneum is the tissue that lines and protects the organs in the abdomen such as the stomach, bowel and ovaries.
The peritoneum is made of epithelial cells, which is the same type of tissue that lines the ovaries. This means that peritoneal cancer often acts and looks like ovarian cancer, from causing similar symptoms to requiring the same types of treatments.
Whilst primary tumours of the peritoneum are very rare, with women more likely than men to develop cancer in the peritoneum, spread to the peritoneum from other abdominal cancers, such as stomach, colon and ovarian cancers, is very common.