Stages of Mesothelioma
When a person is diagnosed with a cancer like mesothelioma, one of the first tasks for doctors is to determine how far the disease has progressed. The patient’s treatment options and long-term chances for survival will depend largely on the stage of mesothelioma he or she has reached. As with other forms of cancer, mesothelioma progresses through four stages.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you will need a clear understanding of the stage of the disease and the implications this has for your healthcare. Doctors may use slightly different staging techniques, so be sure to talk to your medical team about your diagnosis and how it has been determined. Fortunately, while techniques may vary, the basic criteria remain the same.
The Four Stages of Mesothelioma
Oncologists only stage mesothelioma if it is malignant, meaning that it has the potential to spread to other tissues throughout the body. Most of the methods available today were developed for staging pleural mesothelioma, which affects the protective lining of the lungs. If you are suffering from pericardial or peritoneal mesothelioma, your doctor may modify these criteria somewhat:
- Stage 1 Mesothelioma: Tumors are present in the protective lining over the organs and may have partially spread to the organs (for example, to one lung but not the other). The lymph nodes are not affected at stage 1.
- Stage 2 Mesothelioma: Malignant tumors have been found on both sides of the body (for example, in both lungs) or in more than one organ. Alternatively, the cancer may have spread to a lymph node close to the affected organ.
- Stage 3 Mesothelioma: Tumors have been found in multiple organs within the abdominal cavity, such as the heart, chest wall, or diaphragm. The lymph nodes may also be affected.
- Stage 4 Mesothelioma: The cancer has entered the bloodstream of the lymph system. This allows it to spread throughout the body, affecting multiple organs.
As you can see, the earlier stages are easier to treat and pose less of a danger than the later ones. If you have a history of asbestos exposure, it is important to talk with your doctor to make sure any health problems you may have are caught as early as possible. Contact the asbestos attorneys today by calling 800-781-3955.