Mesothelioma Stages

Due to the prevalence of all forms of cancer in our society, we all are aware that cancer doctors (oncologists) assign a number/”stage” (ranging from Stage 1 to Stage 5, with 5 being the worst case) to describe how far the disease has spread. This is used with cell type to determine the treatability of a patient’s cancer.

Several staging systems are in use, and devising a precise staging system has been a challenge and is still evolving. The National Cancer Institute has detailed information on staging. The following are the basics that should answer most of your early questions about general cancer tumor stages and their relationship to treatments:

Stage 1: The tumor is in one organ, is relatively small and will likely react well to surgical removal, chemotherapy and radiation.

Stage 2: The tumor is growing and has spread to other tissue in area, but still can be treated with surgical procedures in combination with other treatments.

Stage 3: The tumor has spread to adjacent organs or areas. Treatment is palliative, concentrating on relieving pain and improving quality of life and not on reversing disease progression or providing a cure.

Stage 4: The tumor has “metastasized,” spread to other parts of the body and is progressing, only palliative care is possible and life expectancies are short.

Stage 5: Death will occur in matter of days.

Unfortunately, staging a mesothelioma diagnosis is extraordinarily difficult since most diagnoses are not made until the disease has reached an advanced stage. However, medical experts continue to refine new staging systems for malignant mesothelioma, but as yet none are very useful tool in predicting results of treatments.