How many stages of mesothelioma are there?


While the process of cancer growth is continuous and gradual, doctors often divide it into stages in order to better describe the severity of a patient’s condition. Stages are a rough indication of how advanced a cancer is and how far it has spread. A 4-stage system is used for the most common form of mesothelioma, affecting the lungs. Other forms of mesothelioma don’t have formal staging systems, but the overall progress of the disease is much the same.


In stage 1, the cancer is limited to one site and one side of the body. If a tumor started on the mesothelium (lining) of the left lung, it hasn’t spread to the right. Just as importantly, there are no signs the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, meaning it’s still completely localized. This gives doctors a better chance of eliminating all traces of cancer through aggressive treatment.


How many stages of mesothelioma are there?


In stage 2, signs exist that cancerous cells have spread to the lymph nodes. Lymph is a fluid that circulates through the body much like blood, and a key site of cancer transmission. But in this stage there is just one relatively small main tumor to deal with, so aggressive surgery is still an option.


Once malignant cells get into lymph, they will eventually travel elsewhere and start new tumors. In stage 3, tumors begin to form on other organs within the same part of the body, e.g. spreading from one lung to the other. At this stage treatment options begin to become more limited because it’s difficult to surgically remove very large or numerous tumors.
In stage 4, cancer has metastasized to distant areas of the body such as bone or brain. At this stage, treatment is limited, and the disease is typically considered terminal since it’s so rare for recovery to take place.


How many stages of mesothelioma are there?


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