Stages of Mesothelioma
The treatment and outlook for patients with mesothelioma largely depends on the stage of their cancer, in other words how far it has progressed.
The staging systems most often used for mesothelioma are known as the Butchart system, which was designed sprecifically for mesothelioma, and the TNM system (which focuses on three elements: Tumor, Lymph Nodes, Metastasis) that also applies to other types of cancer. A third system, the Brigham staging system, assesses cases of mesothelioma based primarily on the prospects for surgical treatment.
All three systems divide mesotheliomas into stages I, II, III and IV depending mainly on the extent of the primary tumor mass and the extent to which the disease has spread. The higher the stage number, the more advanced the mesothelioma; patients in Stage I of the disease have a significantly better prognosis than those with a more advanced stage.
Survival rates depend on many factors including the stage, but one fact is absolute: The sooner a patient is diagnosed and treatment has begun, the better the chances of survival both short- and long-term.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or are experiencing symptoms of the disease, the Mesothelioma Options Help Center offers a comprehensive menu of services to ensure the best medical and legal care and improve your quality of life – find out more now.
Since pleural mesothelioma occurs most frequently and has been the most studied, it is the only type of mesothelioma for which a staging classification exists. In all diagnosed mesothelioma cases, however, doctors first attempt to determine the extent of the disease before determining which treatment options to pursue.
See Stages I-IV for detailed information on the stages and staging systems.
"Survival rates depend on many factors including the stage, but one fact is absolute: The sooner a patient is diagnosed and treatment has begun, the better the chances of survival."
Once mesothelioma is diagnosed, more medical tests are usually performed to find out if cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body. These tests include such imaging studies as x-rays, CT scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Laboratory tests that look at blood, urine, fluid and tissue can also provide key information about the stage of mesothelioma, as can a tissue biopsy.