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Mesothelioma Staging is an important process of determining how far mesothelioma has spread to other body tissues. Mesothelioma Stages range from Stage 1 (least severe, more treatment available) to Stage 4 (most severe, less treatment available).

The process of staging mesothelioma enables the doctor to determine the prognosis and the most effective treatment. For the patient, the mesothelioma stage indicates how serious the disease is.

Mesothelioma stages are usually determined through laboratory analysis of biopsies, physical examination and imaging tests such as PET and CT scan. When the staging has been determined, a nurse or a doctor will be able to understand the extent of the cancer.

There is more than one system that doctors use to help determine the stage of mesothelioma a person has, and this can become confusing to patients and their loved ones. It is important to understand the basic of mesothelioma staging first.

Mesothelioma Basics – The 4 Stages

The overall picture of staging is that a patient will be diagnosed with Stage 1 mesothelioma (least severe) up to Stage 4 mesothelioma (most severe).

The most important factor in determining the stage is how far the cancer has spread. The further the cancer spreads, the higher the stage, and the worst the prognosis is. That is why it is very important to diagnose mesothelioma as early and accurately as possible, understand the stages, and find the best treatment available.

Stage 1

Cancer is only found on one side of the body. The cancer has not spread to other parts of the body, which means there is no metastasis. The cancer has not spread to lymph nodes. This stage has the possibility to be cured by surgery.

Stage 2

Cancer is still only found on one side of the body. The tumor has grown past where it started. The cancer may also be found in some lymph nodes. The stage still has the possibility to be treated with curative surgery.

Stage 3

Cancer is still found only on one side of the body. The tumor has grown and spread to nearby organs and lymph nodes. Treatment options include palliative, and non-surgical therapies.

Stage 4

Cancer is found on both sides of the body. Tumors has spread to other organs and lymph nodes. Treatment options include palliative and chemotherapy.

Pleural Mesothelioma Stages

The overall picture of staging is that a patient will be diagnosed with Stage 1 mesothelioma (least severe) up to Stage 4 mesothelioma (most severe). Patients diagnosed at stage I Pleural Mesothelioma have better prognosis and chance to survive than those at stage IV.

The most important factor in determining the stage is how far the cancer has spread. The further the cancer spreads, the higher the stage, and the worst the prognosis is. That is why it is very important to diagnose mesothelioma as early and accurately as possible, understand the stages, and find the best treatment available.

Stage I

At this stage, the cancer cells have spread into the pleura lining one of chest wall sides. The cancer cell could also have affected the pleura lining the diaphragm and mediastinum. The mesothelioma has not spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes. The cancer can be removed through surgery.

Stage II

The cancer cells at this stage have affected the pleura lining one of the sides of the chest wall, pleura lining of the diaphragm, mediastinum and the lungs. It is possible for the cancer to spread to both the diaphragm and the lung tissues . At this stage, mesothelioma has not affected the lymph nodes (or minimal involvement), and has not spread to distant organs. Surgery may still be an option for this stage.

Stage III

The cancer at this stage has grown on the pleura lining of the chest wall and has spread to the lymph nodes. Tumor could have affected the pleura lining the lungs, mediastinum, and diaphragm. Mesothelioma at this stage is still only on side of the body, but could also spread into lung itself and the muscles of the diaphragm. Importantly, the cancer has not affected other body organs. Surgery may not be a treament option for this stage.

Stage IV

Mesothelioma affects the pleura lining of the chest wall and has spread to deeper layers of the chest wall such as the muscles and the ribs. It has also affected the diaphragm, peritoneum tissues, organs in the mediastinum, pleura lining the chest, spine, pericardium and the heart. Mesothelioma could also have affected the lymph nodes and to distant organs.

Staging helps the clinician to determine the patient prognosis. This is because the system divides any type of cancer into diagnostic stages which will be effective to formulate the best cancer treatment method.

Through Mesothelioma stages, the doctor will be able to determine whether the size of the cancer will be resectable (to remove all cancer tissues) or unresectable. Most stage I, II (and sometimes III) are resectable but it will depend to what degree has the cancer spread to the nearby body organs and its subtype. After a successful removal of cancer cells, doctors usually advocate for further treatment through chemotherapy and radiation therapy so as to kill any remaining cancer cells.

What is the next step?

When mesothelioma is diagnosed, the doctor will first try to determine the stage of the cancer though a variety of tests. This will help determine your prognosis and the best treatment for you. It is critically important that you have the best doctors, and treatment available during this time.

When a person is first diagnosed with mesothelioma, it can be overwhelming. If you need free help with finding doctors, the best treatment centers, financial assistance, or more detailed mesothelioma information. Contact us today, we are here to help.