What Is Malignant Ascites And How To Manage It


Are you a cancer patient with a buildup of abdominal fluid? Ascites involves the buildup of fluid in a patient’s abdomen, which has various causes. When cancer patients get ascites, it’s known as malignant ascites. This is due to the fluid containing cancer cells. Cancer rates have been spiking in recent decades and now affects up to 5.5% of world populations. Having cancer doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely experience this cancerous health condition. As always if you have symptoms that might be ascites it’s important to get it checked out by a doctor. He/She can conduct exams and order tests to help determine if it’s ascites and whether or not it’s cancerous.

One of the main types of treatments involves using a needle to remove the abdominal fluid. This can provide short-term relief of symptoms like stomach pain and shortness of breath. Doctors prescribe treatments based on the individual needs of patients. For example, sometimes “water tablets” are prescribed to promote urination and help deal with symptoms like bloating. The types of treatments prescribed are aimed to help relieve symptoms and help the cancer patient feel more comfortable. This is the main goal so the doctor determines which options are the best ones.

What is Ascites?

This is a buildup of fluid in the abdomen within a sac. It’s normal for the abdomen to contain a certain amount of this fluid in the abdomen. However, the condition is about the high amount that collects in the area. There are various diseases that are linked to this condition. The main ones are liver diseases although there are other potential causes. Some common causes are excess water buildup/sodium that leaks, or spreading cancer that causes fluid leaks.

However, liver-related conditions like liver disease are the main causes of this condition. It’s related to the body being unable to make enough of a certain kind of protein that keeps fluid within the bloodstream. Another common cause is liver cirrhosis, which is usually linked to heavy alcohol consumption.

In normal situations, pressure helps to hold water within the bloodstream. Proteins help to keep H2O molecules from leaking from blood vessels into tissues surrounding them. The problem is when worsening liver disease, the liver is less able to make proteins.

Extra fluid can also build up in other regions of the body and result in other health conditions. This includes edema swelling. This can happen in various body parts like chest, legs, and lungs. The extra fluid in these areas results in various kinds of symptoms.

There are various causes of ascites, although the most common ones are related to the liver including liver disease. Acute liver failure can cause ascites. This can result from factors like medicines/drugs that damage liver cells.

There’s also liver cirrhosis that involves scar tissue taking the place of healthy liver tissue. This gradually results in different kinds of health conditions. Cirrhosis is usually linked to alcoholism, although there are other causes.

Other possible causes of ascites include:

  • Liver cancer
  • Heart failure
  • Pancreas conditions
  • Overactive thyroid

What Are Malignant Ascites?

This refers to the buildup of cancer cell-containing fluid within the abdomen. This condition can be caused by various health conditions. this particular type of ascites is “malignant” because it contains cancer cells. This differs from “benign” conditions like tumors that are cancer-free.

In this condition, the abdominal fluid has cancer cells. The abdominal cavity is the largest hollow space in the body. Malignant-type ascites is usually a sign of late-stage cancer. Patients with certain types of cancer that affect the colon, pancreas, and uterus/ovaries are more likely to have cancerous ascites.

This is a serious condition that can cause a lot of pain and discomfort among patients. They often experience serious discomfort and their daily lives are negatively affected.

This serious ascites can include various symptoms including:

  • Nausea
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling (hands/feet)
  • Lower appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

Some of these symptoms are more common than others. It’s important to watch out for any of them as a sign of cancerous ascites. Weight loss is a common cancer symptom. However, ascites can cause weight gain due to the big quantity of fluid that builds up in the abdomen.

This serious health condition is diagnosed using various tests. They include imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scan, X-rays, etc. Another step is to examine abdominal cells to check for cancer cells. Another type of test involves checking the substances like protein in the cancer patient’s blood.

The outlook for cancer patients with ascites can be difficult. The main goals are to make the patient as comfortable as possible to deal with the condition. Doctors select treatments based on a patient’s individual needs.

There are various kinds of treatments including reducing liquid/sodium intake. They might also receive diuretics (water tablets) to help get rid of extra fluid. Prescription medicines might also be given to deal with the extra fluid and bloating.

How To Manage Malignant Ascites

Top Methods for Ascites Treatment/Prevention

Take diuretics

There are different options. They include basic “water tablets” that can help to get rid of extra abdominal fluid. There are also prescription diuretics with stronger chemicals to achieve the same goal. Make sure to consult your doctor about the best options. For example, you should know about possible side-effects and “interactions” when the medicines are combined with other supplements/medications.


This radiation therapy is sometimes done. It involves producing a connection within the liver between the patient’s blood vessels. The goal is to reduce the pressure that’s causing the ascites.

Reduce/Stop alcohol

This situation is a little different from smoking, which you should always stop cold turkey ASAP. Some alcoholic drinks like red/white wine can be healthy. In fact, wine is a key component of the Mediterranean Diet, which allows 1-2 glasses per day.

That said, heavy alcohol consumption can cause various health issues including liver cirrhosis. If you already have conditions like liver disease, you should try to stop all alcoholic drinks. It’s better to be on the safe side to help prevent the condition from getting worse.

Fluid removal

One ascites treatment involves a doctor using a needle to remove fluid from your abdomen. This can help to reduce total abdominal fluid and also help if you have breathing problems like shortness of breath. It’s an effective method to prevent/treat ascites.

Reduce salt/fluids

It’s important to reduce both if you want to experience a healthier liver. The best fluids to drink include water, brewed coffee, and steeped tea. Fruit/vegetable juice is a good option if it’s homemade with limited additives. Beverages you should try to avoid include sodas (regular/diet), sports/energy drinks, and sugary coffee/tea drinks.

It’s also important to limit your salt intake. That includes table salt as well as added salt. Make sure to read ingredient labels before buying store-bought food to check the salt content to help prevent malignant ascites.

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