Stages of Mesothelioma

Stages of Mesothelioma

Stages of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. When you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma, doctors classify the disease by stages. There are four stages of mesothelioma, each with different treatment options, prognosis and effects on the body.

Stage One Mesothelioma

At this stage, the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body. Stage one patients may have more options for treatment. Since the cancer has not spread, they may be candidates for surgery, often combined with radiation and chemotherapy. If surgery is not possible because of the patient’s health or because of the location of the tumor, radiation or chemotherapy can still prolong life in some cases by targeting the cancer.

While life expectancy may be better at this stage, there is no cure for mesothelioma. In addition, doctors and patients rarely catch the cancer this early. Aggressive treatment may still be prescribed for patients at this stage.

One reason why it is difficult to catch mesothelioma at this stage is because it presents few symptoms and my be in a latent period. Some patients describe feeling tired or experiencing chest or abdominal pains, but these symptoms are subtle and have many potential causes. If you have been exposed to asbestos, you will want to be monitored by an experienced medical professional who has expertise with mesothelioma. If you are monitored regularly, you may be able to catch mesothelioma early, giving you more options for treatment.

Stage Two Mesothelioma

At stage two, the cancer spreads beyond an initial tumor to surrounding areas. If the mesothelioma is in the lungs, for example, during stage two it will have spread to the lining of the lungs, the chest wall, the lymph nodes and other nearby areas.

Stage two is also when symptoms first present themselves. Someone who has mesothelioma that has spread in this way may experience:

  • Changes in bowel movements and regularity
  • Bloating
  • Feelings of tiredness
  • Pain in affected areas, such as the abdomen or chest
  • Sudden and unexplained weight loss
  • Problems with breathing
  • A persistent cough

Since these symptoms are still quite subtle and can suggest many conditions, misdiagnosis can still occur. If you have any of the above symptoms and have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to work with a medical professional who has extensive experience with mesothelioma.

At stage two, there are still many treatment options, so some patients have lived for years following a diagnosis. Doctors may prescribe surgery combined with radiation and chemotherapy at this stage. In some cases, medical professionals advise only radiation and chemotherapy to target the cancer. When mesothelioma affects the lungs, some patients choose to remove part of or an entire lung to prevent the spread of the cancer.

Stage Three Mesothelioma

Stage three mesothelioma is considered an advanced form of cancer, where mesothelioma has spread into areas beyond the initially affected area. If a patient has mesothelioma in the lungs, stage three occurs when the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and other areas, such as the lining of the heart. At this stage, there are fewer treatment options and life expectancy may be shorter.

Patients at this stage will also have more severe symptoms. They may have an ongoing cough and significant difficulty breathing. High levels of pain are also common during stage three mesothelioma. Treatment may involve chemotherapy and radiation. In some cases, surgery may also be an option, although this is rare in stage three. Palliative care may be used at this stage to address the symptoms patients may be experiencing.

While stage three is considered an advanced stage, patients respond differently to treatment. Some can still live longer than initially expected, so prognosis and actual outcomes can vary.

Stage Four Mesothelioma

Off all mesothelioma stages, life expectancy is lowest with stage four. At this stage, the cancer has metastasized and spread throughout the body, including more distant areas. The tumor rate will also increase, and patients will experience more symptoms.

There are fewer treatment options available, and the focus of treatment is to reduce symptoms and to prolong quality of life and life expectancy. Patients may not be candidates for surgery, radiation or chemotherapy because they are in severe pain and weakened or because the cancer has spread too far for these treatments to be effective.

Dealing With Mesothelioma Stages

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you will want to contact a mesothelioma attorney, no matter what your prognosis or stage. You may have legal options that allow you to pursue compensation for medical treatment and other expenses.

Irpino, Avin & Hawkins Law Firm has experience helping many patients and families following a mesothelioma diagnosis. Our attorneys have worked with mesothelioma patients and have served on steering committees of class action lawsuits. We can review your options with you and help you understand whether you have a mesothelioma case.

At Irpino, Avin & Hawkins Law Firm, our sole focus is you, the client. Our client-oriented service means we keep you up-to-date about your case and stay with you every step of the way. We always act in a professional, respectful, compassionate and ethical manner.

Our case studies, results and firm philosophy speak for themselves. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you deserve as many options as possible, and our legal team would be pleased to talk about your case. Contact Irpino, Avin & Hawkins Law Firm online or by calling us at 800-7500-LAW or 504-525-1500 today for a free consultation.

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