Carcinomatosis is a medical condition in which multiple carcinomas will develop from a primary source, often simultaneously. They are forms of metastasis and whether they spread in a general manner or in a defined pattern, they will still be a form of disseminated cancer. In medical circles, the term Carcinomatosis refers a situation in which multiple sites will have multiple secondaries. It was, strictly speaking, used to refer to carcinomas which are a type of epithelial cancers and not lymphomas, cancer of the lymphatic system or sarcomas either. The term has been diluted to mean all those cancers that have a characteristic spread. There are various types of Carcinomatosis:
Types of Carcinomatosis
It is important to note that Carcinomatosis by far and large refer to cancer tumors that originate from epithelial surfaces called adenocarcinomas while if the cancer cells are of mesenchymal origin or sarcomas then their dissemination is called sarcomatosis. The classification of Carcinomatosis is based on whether they affect the lungs or the other body cavities.
1. Lung Carcinomatosis
There are two kinds of Carcinomatosis for the lungs;
- Lymphangitic carcinomatosis
This Carcinomatosis is formed when a cancerous tumor metastasizes into the lung. In the lungs, the tumors will form nodules that are not only distinct but will be spread by the lymph vessels that are found in the lungs. Up to seven percent of these cells will be spread. The effect is impairment of breathing mechanism which in addition will make the lungs to become stiffer and compression of the blood vessels that are located alongside the lymph vessels that have been distended.
- Miliary carcinosis
Miliary carcinosis is similar to military tuberculosis in terms of their radiographic appearance. They are characterized by a pattern of metastases which are not only modular but also small in sizes.
2. The other types of Carcinomatosis are found in the body cavities and which manifest by the growth of tumor cells along the surfaces of the organs lining the body cavities include:
- Peritoneal Carcinomatosis
This Carcinomatosis affect the lining of the abdominal cavity with the most common being ovarian carcinomas. The cells produce fluids which can generate ascites. This process is very typical in carcinomatosis but is a rare occurrence in peritoneal sarcomatosis. The fluid produced can take two form, mucinous as is the case in pseudomyxoma peritonei or just plain serous as is the case in peritoneal carcinoma.
- Pleural carcinosis
This is a type of Carcinomatosis that though it grows in body cavities, it is associated with poor prognosis in addition to the obvious malignant pleural effusion.
- Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis
This is a form of Carcinomatosis in which tumor grows central nervous system especially its meningeal covering.
Carcinomatosis manifests itself differently according to the part of the body which it affects. The shortening of breath and haemoptysis, for, example is a symptom if it occur in the lungs. Others include:
ü Jaundice if Carcinomatosis affects the live
ü Neurological features and incessant headaches similar to migraines if the brain is affected.
ü Pathological fractures and pain if the bones are involved.