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The stages of pleural mesothelioma

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2024 | mesothelioma

Like other cancer types, pleural mesothelioma is categorized by its stages of evolution. When one is diagnosed with this cancer type, the next step is to discover its stage (staging).

Physicians consider three factors to determine the stage a patient is at. These include the size/extent of the main tumor (T), the spread to nearby lymph nodes (N) and the spread (metastasis) to distant sites (M). These letters are typically written with numbers to provide more information.

Stage 1

At this stage, mesothelioma is usually localized – it hasn’t spread outside the mesothelial lining of the lung. It may or may not have affected the pleural lining of the diaphragm. Common symptoms of stage 1 pleural mesothelioma include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain and fever.

Stage 2

When pleural mesothelioma starts to spread into the diaphragm or the lung itself, a patient may be staged at stage 2. The cancer will also have spread to lymph nodes on the same side of the body as the primary tumor. At this stage, stage 1 symptoms are worse, and one may experience weight loss and pressure in the chest due to fluid build-up in the pleural cavity (the space between the chest wall and the lungs).

Stage 3

When pleural mesothelioma spreads to nearby structures, such as the thoracic cavity, and spreads to lymph nodes, it’s considered to be at Stage 3. Symptoms at this stage are usually noticeable, affecting one’s everyday life. Due to the severity of the symptoms in Stage 3 and the longer latency period of mesothelioma, most people are diagnosed at this stage.

Stage 4

Stage 4 occurs when pleural mesothelioma spreads to distant organs, such as the liver, the bones, the brain and so on.

If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma at any stage, obtain more information to determine if you have a case against a negligent party that may have exposed you to the asbestos that inspired your condition.