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Mesothelioma | Stages of Mesothelioma


Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer that attacks the lining of the organs – lung, heart and abdomen.  After malignant mesothelioma is diagnosed by a biopsy, the medical staff will determine the stage of the disease.  To determine the stage of the malignant mesothelioma, physicians may conduct a computer tomography-CT or magnetic resonance imaging-MRI sans to evaluate the progression of the disease.  Once physicians determine the stage, they will determine the appropriate treatment.

The four stages of mesothelioma are:

  • Stage 1 — The tumor is found in the pleura with or without some involvement of the lung, pericardium (lining of the heart) or diaphragm.
  • Stage 2 — The tumor is found in a stage 1 location, plus involvement of some lymph nodes in the chest.
  • Stage 3 — The tumor has extended into the chest wall, ribs or heart, through the diaphragm or into the peritoneum (the abdominal lining). There may be involvement of the lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4 — The tumor has spread through the bloodstream to distant sites.

What Next?

The stage of the malignant mesothelioma will determine the treatment options. Medical advances have significantly increased life expectancy and quality of life, but mesothelioma is still ultimately fatal. The earlier the cancer is detected, the more likely that life can be extended by months or even years with surgery, radiation or drugs. In later stages, as the cancer is widespread, medical care focuses on pain management and patient care to make life as comfortable as possible for the person.

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