For many years now, the way that doctors have addressed the serious nature of particular types of cancer is in terms of stages. For example, mesothelioma stages are used to determine the nature of the mesothelioma cancer in terms of whether or not it has spread. Throughout the years, these different staging systems have been developed in order to assist oncologists and other cancer specialists in determining the diagnosis of cancer as well as the best form of cure or treatment for each individual patient once they have been properly diagnosed.
Three Systems For Mesothelioma Stages
There are three different systems that can be used in order to determine the mesothelioma stages, which is done by examining whatever extent of pleural mesothelioma is present. Because other forms of the mesothelioma cancer are even less common that pleural mesothelioma, there really are no formal staging systems for the other types of mesothelioma despite how aggressive this cancer is and despite the fact that these mesothelioma stages can be applied if a physician so desires. Each of the three different systems for determining mesothelioma stages measures a number of different factors for malignant mesothelioma including the extent of the primary tumor, the amount of metastasis or spreading, and whether or not lymph nodes have become involved.
Identifying Mesothelioma Stages
Determining what stage a particular patient is in following diagnosis of mesothelioma is important because it greatly impacts what treatment options are going to be recommended by doctors and oncologists.
In the Butchart system of mesothelioma stages, stage 1 indicates that malignant mesothelioma has managed to affect either the right or the left side of the chest cavity. Stage 2 indicates that malignant mesothelioma has been found in the pleura and may have moved into other organs like the heart or stomach. Stage 3 indicates that the malignant mesothelioma has reached the peritoneum or the abdominal cavity and possibly the lymph nodes. Finally stage 4 indicates that the malignant mesothelioma has managed to reach other organs as well as the blood stream.
In the TNM system of mesothelioma stages, stage 1 is when malignant mesothelioma is present in the chest cavity and has metastasized to the pericardium, the lung or the diaphragm on the same side. Stage two occurs when the mesothelioma has reached a lymph node near the area of the lung on the same side as where the cancer is. Stage 3 occurs when the mesothelioma has gone on to metastasize into the pleural area as well as the lymph nodes. Finally, stage 4 exists when the malignant mesothelioma has spread into the pleural area as well as the lymph nodes not only on the side of the cancer but also the opposite side as well.
Finally, the Brigham system for mesothelioma stages begins with stage 1, where the tumor is still capable of being resected and the lymph nodes are not involved. Stage 2 involves mesothelioma where the tumor is still capable of being resected but the lymph nodes are also involved. Step 3 involves mesothelioma where the tumor is no longer resectable and the mesothelioma has metastasized into the heart and chest wall. In stage 4, the malignant mesothelioma is no longer resectable and has spread throughout the body.