Mesothelioma is a type of cancer in which a malignant tumor occurs in the mesothelial tissues of some organs of the body such as the lungs which is called pleural mesothelioma. On the other hand, the mesothelioma cancer in abdomen medically termed as peritoneal mesothelioma and in the heart which is known as pericardial mesothelioma.
This type of cancer is related to exposure to asbestos dust or powder. According to some reports individuals who have been exposed to asbestos developed pleural mesothelioma after 20 to 30 years. The treatment given to this case depends on the malignancy stage of the cancer cells.
Stages of Pleural Mesothelioma
Cancer staging refers to the extent of the cancer cells. The higher the stage, the poor the prognosis is. Treatment and management of pleural mesothelioma depends on how huge and extended the cancer has become.
Stage 1. This is the earliest stage of pleural mesothelioma. This is where the cancer cells begin to develop and reproduce in just a single layer of the pleura (lining of the lungs). However in very rare cases, the lungs itself may already be involved during this phase. The lymph nodes are not yet affected therefore, surgery can be performed to remove the tumor. The prognosis is also very good at this stage.
Stage 2. In this stage, 2 layers of the lining are involved. In normal cases, the pleura produces fluid that serves as lubricant in order to facilitate the expansion and contraction of the lungs as we breathe air in and out of our system. However, stage 2 pleural mesothelioma causes the fluid to build up affecting the lungs and the chest wall. This later on result to pleural effusion making the affected person experience difficulty in breathing.
Surgery may still be performed by this time even though some lymph nodes are already affected. The prognosis is good but there is a chance of recurrence after some time.
Stage 3. During this stage, the cancer cells are no longer isolated in one area of the body and already metastasized to the chest wall or the esophagus. The patient may experience severe pain in the chest area and if it wont be managed properly, this may lead to stage 4 cancer. Surgery is not recommended during this stage because the chest wall and the heart are already in danger.
Stage 4. This stage is the final stage and is very fatal. The prognosis or the chance of recovery is already poor. Cancer cells have already affected the bloodstream and other major organs of the body such as the liver, brain as well as the bones. Radiation or chemotherapy may still be performed in this stage however palliative management is often the option both by the medical team and the patient.
Those are the 4 stages of Pleural Mesothelioma. So if you think you have been long exposed to asbestos, visit your doctor right away.