Mesothelioma stages are used to indicate the size of a patient's tumor and extent of the cancer’s growth. This information is important when determining a patient’s treatment plan because certain treatments are most effective for particular stages of the cancer. For instance, surgery may be extremely effective for patients with early-stage mesothelioma, while chemotherapy may be a more appropriate choice for patients with a later stage of the disease.
When physicians talk about mesothelioma stages, they often are referring to pleural mesothelioma, the primary type of the cancer. The same numerical scale from one to four is used for the other types of mesothelioma, but the locations in which the cancer is found in each stage will differ. The main stages of pleural mesothelioma are:
- Stage 1 mesothelioma is localized, meaning it hasn’t spread outside of its original location.
- Stage 2 mesothelioma is locally advanced, meaning that it has started to spread, but it hasn’t progressed to the lymph nodes, diaphragm or lungs
- Stage 3 mesothelioma is regionally advanced, meaning that cancerous cells have reached the lining of the chest cavity between the lungs, the lining of the diaphragm or the lungs, the soft tissues of the chest wall, the tissues between the ribs, the diaphragm itself and/or the lungs
- Stage 4 mesothelioma is metastatic, meaning that it has spread to the bones, the spine or other organs (either in the chest cavity or elsewhere in the body)
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we utilize a number of advanced diagnostic and staging methods to get a clear picture of each patient’s unique situation. Although staging is just one of the factors that our oncologists consider when creating a patient’s treatment plan, assessing the size and extent of a tumor is one way they are able to make an individualized recommendation for each patient’s care.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, our oncologists can help explain the stages and how they may influence your treatment plan. Contact us by calling 1-888-663-3488, or fill out our online new patient registration form.