Mesothelioma Lawyers Michigan - Mesothelioma Lawyers Near Me Michigan

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Staging of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a malignant disease that affects individuals who have been exposed to asbestos.  Asbestos is a known carcinogen and when inhaled can result in mesothelioma.  Mesothelioma can present in many anatomic areas in the human body including:  the pleura of the lungs, peritoneum of the abdominal cavity, the pericardium of the heart and the testes.  When a diagnosis of malignancy is made, the next step in determining the extent of the cancer is to stage it.  The National Cancer Institute has developed a TNM system that evaluates specific characteristics of these malignancies in order to determine an accurate stage of disease.  Let's take a look at how staging of mesothelioma occurs.

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TNM Staging System
Mesothelioma is a malignancy that is very aggressive.  The National Cancer Institute has only approved the TNM staging model for pleural mesothelioma.  Peritoneal mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma, and testicular mesothelioma are not staged based on the TNM system.  These malignancies are mainly characterized as being localized or metastatic.  Let's take a further look into how pleural mesothelioma is staged.

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Pleural Mesothelioma:  Stage IA and Stage IB
Pleural mesothelioma is staged using the TNM staging model.  The staging system evaluates three main characteristics:  tumor size, nodal involvement, and metastatic spread.  The more advanced the cancer, the larger the stage number.  There are four stages when evaluating pleural mesothelioma.  Stage I is the least advanced and stage IV is the most advanced.  Stage I is localized disease.  Stage I can be subdivided into two categories. 

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Stage IA and stage IB. 

Stage IA indicates that the malignancy is located on one side of the body.  The malignancy is confined to one side of the chest and involves the lining of the chest wall.  It may also be found in the lining of the chest cavity or the lining of the diaphragm.  The key finding to stage IA is that the cancer is localized, and does not involve the pleura.  Stage IB is also localized to one side of the chest, and involves the lining of the cost wall.  However, now the pleura of one lung is involved.  Malignancy may also be present in the lining of the chest cavity or lining of the diaphragm.  So the main difference between stage IA and stage IB is pleural involvement.

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Pleural Mesothelioma:  Stage II and Stage III
The next stage is stage II.  Stage II includes all the requirements for stage IA and stage IB.  A stage II diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma indicates that in addition to stage I criteria, the cancer has now spread into the lung tissue and/or the diaphragm.  The next progressive stage of pleural mesothelioma is stage III.  Stage III pleural mesothelioma includes all the criteria of stage I and stage II as well as additional spread.  Stage III pleural mesothelioma the malignancy may have spread to the lining of the chest cavity, the lining of the diaphragm, the pleura of the lung, the lung tissue, and the actual diaphragm.  What makes this stage III disease, is now there is nodal involvement.  Nodal involvement includes lymph nodes along the junction of the lung and bronchus, trachea and esophagus, between the lung and diaphragm or below the trachea.  Another set of criteria that can indicate stage III diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma include spread to one or more criteria:  tissue between the ribs and chest wall lining, fat between lungs, soft tissues of chest wall, or pericardium of the heart.  Nodal involvement may be present, as listed above. 

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Pleural Mesothelioma:  Stage IV
Finally, the most advanced stage of pleural mesothelioma is stage IV.  The key findings in this particular stage of disease is the involvement of both sides of the body.  Stage IV disease means that cancer may involve the lymph nodes anywhere in the chest of above the collarbone.  Stage IV malignancy must meet one or more of the following criteria:  spread into the peritoneum, chest wall lining on opposite side of primary tumor, into organs in center of chest cavity, spine, pericardium of heart, heart tissue, brain, thyroid or prostate.  Stage IV disease indicates metastatic spread; therefore, treatment options are restricted.  An individual with stage IV pleural mesothelioma is not a candidate for surgery.  Other treatment modalities are available and a treatment plan should be developed with a healthcare professional team.

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Mesothelioma is a very aggressive malignancy that must be managed appropriately.  The National Cancer Institute has developed a staging system that is used by physicians to determine how advanced a particular malignancy is in the disease process.  Better outcomes are associated with early detection.  Therefore, please speak with a healthcare professional regarding any questions concerning mesothelioma.

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