Stages of Mesothelioma
During your diagnosis, doctors typically find that your cancer is in one of four stages. These stages determine the progression and severity of the disease. By dividing the disease into stages, doctors can more clearly assess the prognosis and treatment options available to you. Because mesothelioma outside the lungs is very rare, the classification of stages have only been developed for mesothelioma within the chest and lungs.
Stage I is the earliest part of mesothelioma. The cancer is typically found on one side of the lung lining. It has not yet spread. At this point, removing the tumor through surgery may be an option. This effort effectively cures the condition, although your doctor will have to check that it doesn't come back. Diagnosing mesothelioma at an early stage like this is key to a great prognosis.
Mesothelioma in this stage has grown larger than the tumor described in Stage I. It has also spread into the actual lungs or diaphragm. In addition, it may be present on both sides of the lung lining and possibly the lymph nodes. Surgery may still be possible to remove the cancer, although it is less likely to be effective.
By the time mesothelioma reaches Stage III, it has unfortunately spread outside of the lung lining. It may have gone to the chest wall, abdomen, esophagus, lymph nodes, and heart. Although surgery is less likely to be able to remove all of the cancer at this point, the option should still be explored with a mesothelioma specialist.
During Stage IV, the cancer has progressed even further. Other organs in the chest, abdomen and neck may be affected. Your bones and lymph nodes may be involved, too. At this stage, surgery is usually no longer an option. Instead, treatments are used to make you more comfortable and take away some pain.
What Happens When My Stage Is Diagnosed?
Regardless of what your diagnosis reveals, it is important to understand the different stages and treatment options. Available treatments should be discussed with a specialist. For more information, please get in touch with us. We can help explore further options that help you cope with your condition.