Pseudomyxoma peritonei is a rare type of bowel cancer that begins in the appendix as a small growth, called a polyp. It is also known as PMP or ‘jelly belly’.
This polyp eventually bursts through the wall of your appendix or other organs and spreads cancerous cells to the lining of the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum). These cancerous cells produce mucus, which then collects in the abdomen as a jelly-like fluid called mucin. It is different from other forms of cancer as it spreads across the surface of abdominal organs, producing a great deal of mucus.
Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital is one of only two national specialist centres in the country treating this disease. It has subsequently become the largest volume centre in the world. The centre forms part of the colorectal unit, and has built upon the expertise of this unit in the management of complex rectal cancer surgery.
Patients are referred to the unit for assessment and treatment from all over the United Kingdom. Referrals can be from your GP or your consultant if you are being treated within a hospital.
Bowel cancer can also metastasise into the peritoneal cavity, this is called colorectal peritoneal metastases. It is not known what proportion of patients develop this advanced cancer but a proportion of patients can have extensive surgery (cytoreductive surgery) to remove all the cancer cells that collect throughout the abdomen.