Mesothelioma Treatment by Stage
When a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma, their disease is typically classified into a specific stage based on the extent of the disease. These stages help doctors determine the best course of treatment for each individual patient.
While there are several different staging systems, each one generally uses four stages that identify the progression of the disease. The lower the stage, the more localized the mesothelioma is, allowing for more treatment options. The higher stages are more indicative of an advanced form of mesothelioma in which there is some degree of metastasis and limited treatment choices. Although mesothelioma is not curable, treatment may help prolong a patient’s life expectancy and increase their quality of life.
The treatment options for each stage of mesothelioma:
- Stage I: This is the earliest stage of mesothelioma. The cancer is localized to one side of the body and there is no metastasis to the lymph nodes. When mesothelioma is diagnosed at this stage, surgery is considered a viable option. Physicians will attempt to remove all the cancerous tissue by performing a pleurectomy/decortication or an extrapleural pneumonectomy. In addition, patients may also undergo radiation and chemotherapy.
- Stage II: This is also considered an early stage of the disease. Surgery may still be a possibility. Treatment at this stage is usually geared towards a multimodal approach. This means that several treatments are used in combination together to achieve the best possible outcome. In addition to surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation are commonly used at this stage.
- Stage III: This is considered an advanced stage of the cancer. The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and other areas of the body making treatment much more difficult. Most patients diagnosed in this stage are not considered candidates for surgery. Chemotherapy and radiation may still be utilized to relieve symptoms and as a means to extend one’s survival time.
- Stage IV: This is the most advanced stage of mesothelioma. The cancer is widespread and patients are usually given a poor prognosis. At this stage, the cancer cannot be removed by surgery. Treatment tends to be more palliative in nature, meaning that treatments are given in an effort to make the patient as comfortable as possible. This can include procedures to remove fluid build up in the chest, pain management and measures that would alleviate other uncomfortable symptoms. Patients may need to consider hospice care.
Researchers are continually trying to develop new and better treatment options for mesothelioma including new drugs, gene therapy, immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy. Clinical trials are always underway as a means to test new innovative treatments. As part of their treatment plan, patients may wish to participate in a clinical trial. They are offered at many medical institutions around the country.
Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler: Mesothelioma Attorneys Defending the Rights of Mesothelioma Victims and their Families
The mesothelioma attorneys at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler in Philadelphia understand that dealing with a diagnosis of mesothelioma and undergoing treatment for this devastating disease is no easy feat. We want to help. We have dedicated a key area of our practice to representing mesothelioma victims and their families in an effort to obtain the full and fair compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call our office today at 215-569-4000 to schedule a free consultation or submit an online contact form.