Stages of Mesothelioma Series
The development of mesothelioma is categorized into four stages. If mesothelioma is present, it is ideal to have it diagnosed during the stage I phase, meaning that the cancer has not yet progressed to additional areas of the body. During this initial stage, the patient’s outlook, and the number of effective treatment options available, will be at its greatest.
Unfortunately, many people suffering from mesothelioma are not diagnosed with the cancer until the later stages, as there are typically few or no symptoms shown throughout the first stage.
Common Signs and Symptoms Experienced During Stage One
As mentioned, most people do not experience any symptoms during the first stage, making a stage one diagnosis quite rare. In some cases, patients may notice mild symptoms that include fatigue or pains in the abdominal or chest regions.
Prognosis of Stage One Mesothelioma
Stage one mesothelioma has the most optimistic prognosis of the four stages, as the cancer remains localized, and has not begun to spread to other areas of the body, such as the lymph nodes. The cancer, at this stage, will be confined to the original mesothelioma tumor that was detected.
The prognosis during stage one mesothelioma is typically encouraging because patients will still have several potentially restorative treatment options available, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. If the patient is eligible for these options, and an aggressive treatment plan is followed, they can substantially increase their life expectancy. It is not unusual for individuals diagnosed with stage one mesothelioma to live for many years after their diagnosis.
Stage One Treatment Options
With the use of aggressive treatments, stage one mesothelioma can potentially be addressed with successful results. The first step of most stage one treatment plans is the removal of the mesothelioma tumor. All physical evidence of the cancer growth is abstracted from the body as thoroughly as possible.
As there is always a risk that trace amounts of cancer cells will be left behind after the surgery, most physicians will recommend treatments of chemotherapy or radiation, or a combination of both methods. In the interest of aggressively addressing the cancer before it is able to progress, many doctors will recommend what is known as multimodal therapy, meaning that surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy will be used within very close succession.
In some rare cases, stage one patients may not be eligible for the surgical procedure that would remove the tumor growth. They may not be candidates for the surgery due to the size or location of the tumor, or due to other medical conditions present that compromise the individual’s ability to undergo the surgery. If possible, doctors will often recommend that these patients receive an appropriate amount of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to treat the cancer.
Diagnosing Mesothelioma During the First Stage
While individuals who are diagnosed with stage one mesothelioma receive the most hopeful prognoses, there is a need for swift and aggressive treatment in order to prohibit the cancer from progressing to the more serious stages. Unfortunately, many people do not have the opportunity to begin fighting this devastating illness in its earliest stage because the symptoms are few or nonexistent at this time.
Therefore, especially if you are at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma, it is essential to undergo medical examinations regularly to identify potential signs of the cancer. Individuals who have a history of being exposed to asbestos are among the most vulnerable when it comes to being diagnosed with mesothelioma and should dedicate themselves to visiting their physician at least once a year to receive a thorough examination.
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