If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, your doctor will describe the state of your condition using one of four stages. Each stage represents the extent to which the tumor has metastasised, which is the spread from its original growth point. Identifying the cancer’s stage is an important aspect of the diagnosis and can ultimately determine treatment options moving forward.
Depending on the patient’s health and stage of the cancer, doctors may recommend more aggressive treatment options like surgery to try and remove the tumors present. When the cancer is operable, doctors consider the tumors resectable and may help extend the life expectancy of the patient.
Stage I Mesothelioma
Doctors rarely diagnose Stage I mesothelioma because the symptoms of the disease often appear benign to the average person. Symptoms of Stage I mesothelioma include fever, chest pains, and body aches which are all common symptoms of other medical conditions older individuals deal with.
Mesothelioma is a cancer most often affecting the linings of the lungs (pleura), abdomen (peritoneal), and heart (pericardium). In its first stage, mesothelioma tumors often grow on the outside of these linings (Stage Ia) and then the inside of the tissue (Stage Ib).
Stage II Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is still in its early stages when in Stage II and curative treatments involving surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation can still go a long way to stymying the cancer’s growth. In this stage, the tumors will spread throughout the pleura of the lungs, abdominal peritoneal, or pericardium of the heart.
Symptoms of Stage II mesothelioma include chest pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, chest pressure, or a persistent cough brought on by the fluid building up in the affected tissues. As the cancer advances, this fluid becomes more dense and ultimately thickens to the point the space between the linings disappears.
Stage III Mesothelioma
When mesothelioma reaches Stage III, tumors have usually spread inside the tissue linings surrounding the organs and throughout the body. Often times, tumors metastasize into the heart, fatty tissues, or abdominal organs.
Evan at this more advanced stage, the tumors may be operable to help treat the symptoms, prolong life expectancy, and help the patient live a longer and more comfortable life. Stage III mesothelioma symptoms include shortness of breath and pain while breathing, increased chest pain, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
Stage IV Mesothelioma
At Stage IV, mesothelioma tumors have spread far from where the disease originally appeared and most likely have invaded the diaphragm, heart, and various lymph nodes. Surgery is most likely not an option to treat the cancer at this point and doctors usually recommend chemotherapy or radiation treatments to help improve the comfort of the patient.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Attorneys
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.