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Home / Mesothelioma / What are the Stages of Pleural Mesothelioma?

What are the Stages of Pleural Mesothelioma?

There are four stages of malignant pleural mesothelioma (cancer of the chest cavity) which assist healthcare providers in determining how the cancer has progressed in a patient.

Cancer discovered at an earlier stage offers a better prognosis, while later stage cancer has more limited treatment options and a shorter life expectancy.

During diagnosis, the doctor will determine the stage of pleural mesothelioma for the patient by assessing:

  • The size and location of the tumor, whether it has spread beyond the pleura (lung lining), and whether it can be removed surgically.
  • Whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other organs or the other side of the body.
  • Using this information, the doctor will provide the patient with a stage determination, which will indicate how advanced the cancer is.

    Stage 1 - The tumor has not spread beyond the lung lining. Aggressive treatments are an option.

    Stage 2 - Cancer has spread beyond the lung lining to nearby organs, such as the lung. Aggressive treatment options are still available.

    Stage 3 - Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, tissues, and nearby organs. Limited treatment options are available.

    Stage 4 - Cancer has spread to tissues, organs, and lymph nodes throughout areas of the body. Very limited treatment options are available. Typically at this stage, the emphasis is on palliative care; however, chemotherapy is sometimes used to prolong life.

    No two pleural mesothelioma cases are the same, but the staging allows the doctors to determine the best course of treatment, more accurate prognosis and estimates of life expectancy.

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