What are the 4 Stages of Pleural Mesothelioma?
Nicole Winch | June 22, 2021
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, your doctor or specialist will stage it according to its progression. This process of determining how far the cancer has spread and the best possible treatment option is called cancer staging.
At this time, however, malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is the only type of mesothelioma that has an official staging system. While there are other types of mesothelioma, they are rare and there is not enough known information on their progression to stage them accurately.
Like many other cancers, doctors use the Tumor Node Metastasis (TNM) System to stage this disease. The TNM system is used throughout the United States and other countries to stage almost every solid tumor cancer. Doctors may also choose to stage your mesothelioma with other common systems such as the Butchart staging system or the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) system.
Through a CT scan, a PET scan or surgical methods your doctor will be able to see how far the cancer has spread as well as the size of the tumors. The spread of this disease is called mesothelioma metastasis.
While each patient’s diagnosis is unique, the American Cancer Society (ACS) states that “cancers with similar stages tend to have a similar outlook and are often treated in much the same way.”
The stages of mesothelioma range from I (1) to IV (4), the higher number meaning the cancer has spread more and the lower number the cancer has spread less.
The most common staging system used for MPM, is the Tumor Node Metastasis (TNM) System. This system is based on three important key factors:
- The size of the tumor (T)
- The spread to lymph nodes (N)
- The spread (metastasis) to distant organs (M)
Stage One Pleural Mesothelioma
During stage one, the tumors are small in collective size and localized within the point of origin. The mesothelioma has not metastasized or affected any lymph nodes. However, diagnosing stage one mesothelioma can be difficult due to a lack of symptoms.
Patients diagnosed in stage one have the best chance of survival. Unlike the other stages, all treatment options are available at this time.
Stage Two Pleural Mesothelioma
At this stage, the mesothelioma is contained to one side of the chest, but has spread outside of the lining of the lungs (pleura). The cancer could also affect partial areas of the diaphragm and possibly nearby lymph nodes.
Stage two is still considered early stage mesothelioma and most curative surgeries can still be performed on patients.
Stage Three Pleural Mesothelioma
In stage three, the cancer has not spread to distant parts of the body, however, it is locally aggressive. This means that it has spread to deeper surrounding tissue such as the chest wall, esophagus, diaphragm and/or lymph nodes.
Depending on the patient, they may still be able to undergo curative treatments. However, doctors will recommend treatments to control the cancer as well as suggest palliative care options.
Stage Four Pleural Mesothelioma
At stage four, the mesothelioma is in its most advanced state and has metastasized. The cancer has spread through blood vessels or lymph nodes to nearby or distant organs.
In this stage, treatment options remain limited because of how far the cancer has already spread. Normally, surgery is not an option considering it’s nearly impossible or dangerous to completely remove all of the cancer.
At BCBH Law, we understand that a mesothelioma diagnosis can take a toll on you and your family. Our attorneys are here to help you navigate this challenging time and get you the justice you deserve. Fill out our free case evaluation form to see how we can begin helping your family today.
- Malignant Mesothelioma StagesAmerican Cancer Society Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/detection-diagnosis-staging/staging.html. Accessed: 06/10/21.