Stages of Mesothelioma Series

Stage Four

Stage four is the final diagnosis stage that a mesothelioma patient can experience. As this is the most advanced stage of mesothelioma, patients that receive this diagnosis have few effectual treatment options available. During this most advanced stage of the disease, the tumor rate of growth will increase considerably and the symptoms experienced will become more severe, as compared to the previous stages.

When mesothelioma progresses from stage three to stage four, this means that the tumors have spread from areas adjacent to the original tumor to more distant areas throughout the body. This process is also known as metastasizing. While this final stage of mesothelioma is accompanied by the weakest prognosis, patients do have treatment options available to help them best cope with their illness according to their unique circumstances and personal wishes, potentially improving their life expectancy and quality of life.

Common Signs and Symptoms Experienced During Stage Four

During the fourth stage of mesothelioma, the symptoms experienced by an individual patient will depend heavily upon which areas of the body are being affected by the spreading tumor growth. As many patients have tumors that affect the chest and lungs, difficulty breathing and severe chest pains are quite common.

Patients that experience tumors that have invaded the stomach, throat, and/or abdomen will often show symptoms such as significant trouble swallowing, a loss of appetite, and severe abdominal pain. Severe pain will likely be experience in any area of the body where the tumors have metastasized.

Stage Four Treatment Options

As with most forms of late stage cancer, patients with stage four mesothelioma are generally no longer eligible for most curative treatments. These patients are typically not considered eligible candidates for surgical removal of the tumors, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy because the cancer has spread to too many areas of the body for complete removal to be possible, and/or because the body has become too weakened to endure these demanding and invasive treatments.

This does not mean that there are absolutely no treatment options available to patients. At this stage, instead of emphasizing curative treatment methods, physicians will instead focus more heavily on treatments that will keep the patient comfortable, relieving the pain and other symptoms.

Treatment of stage four mesothelioma often involves the surgical removal of bulk tumors in order to relieve pain in conjunction with palliative radiation therapy. If surgery is not a possibility for the patient, the physician may recommend low intensity chemotherapy treatments in order to shrink tumors enough to provide relief from symptoms.

These treatments are not curative, but are often preferred by patients who wish to extend their life expectancy and reduce their symptoms, allowing them to enjoy a higher quality of life for the longest possible amount of time.

Prognosis for Stage Four Mesothelioma

As this is the final and most advanced stage of mesothelioma, patients diagnosed with stage four have the poorest prognoses. The cancer has progressed to distant areas of the body from the original tumor, greatly reducing the number of effective treatment options available.

The life expectancy of individuals diagnosed with stage four mesothelioma is typically not much longer than six months following the diagnosis. It is important to note that no two mesothelioma cases are exactly the same, and with careful treatment, even patients with a late stage diagnosis can outlive their prognosis considerably. It is important for anyone diagnosed with this condition to seek the services and resources of a skilled and qualified specialist to learn more about personalized treatment options.


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