Mesothelioma Diagnosis and Staging

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Research now shows that some individuals with pleural mesothelioma live an average of five years with successful surgery, while others live an additional three years without any treatment. Approximately 75% of all Pleural Mesothelioma patients still live at least one year after their initial diagnosis. However, only 23% of those diagnosed with this condition live longer than three years after their diagnosis. Only 23% of those diagnosed with this condition survive at least three years after their initial diagnosis.

Pleural Mesothelioma generally begins as a small lump in a person’s chest cavity, but occasionally the lungs can become affected too. The lump grows and eventually envelops the lung tissue, where it presses against the walls of the lungs until it reaches a final stage. As the cancer progresses through the stages described above, Pleural Mesothelioma tends to press against and sometimes completely block the airway and air sacs, causing breathing difficulties and eventually death. Although not every case of Pleural Mesothelioma ends with death, it is important to understand that each case is unique and can be quite different from the final stage experienced by some other types of mesothelioma.

The final stage experienced by some individuals is called relapse. At this point, the cancer has spread dramatically, often to other parts of the body. When the patient does not respond well to traditional treatments, they may be referred to a mesothelioma clinical research center for additional evaluation and treatment. During the time a patient is undergoing mesothelioma treatments, they may have their lung function assessed every few months to ensure their life expectancy remains high. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees of life expectancy with this disease, but early diagnosis and aggressive treatment will help increase patients chances of living a quality life.

In order to provide you with an accurate mesothelioma guide, it is imperative that you are diagnosed with the disease as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the majority of people who are diagnosed with this condition are diagnosed after the third week of diagnosis. There are several symptoms that are commonly associated with mesothelioma. Many of these symptoms can appear months before the mesothelioma is discovered, but the longer the disease is allowed to exist and the more severe the symptoms, the less likely a person is to be able to detect their illness. Some of the more common symptoms include: Shortness of Breath – especially upon waking, Chronic cough – usually with no known cause, Palpitations, Irregular Heartbeat – unusual rapid or irregular heartbeats, Shortness of Leg – legs become weak and numb, Headaches, Dizziness – feels like a dizzy feeling in arms or face, Fatigue – lack of energy, and Pains in the chest area or upper back. If any of these symptoms are present in conjunction with any other symptoms, then it is very likely you have been exposed to asbestos and should seek medical advice immediately.

In order to diagnose mesothelioma it is necessary to know the various stages of the disease, and what stage a patient may be at any given time. There are three stages of this disease: Stage I is when the tumors are still in early development and there are still some healthy cells to help support the tumor growth, Stage II is when the tumors have grown and can support themselves, and Stage III is when cancer cells have spread significantly and can no longer support themselves. The majority of individuals diagnosed with the disease will be in Stage I or Stage II. However, there are some individuals who are diagnosed in Stage III, and if this is the case, doctors will generally treat them with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

It is important to understand that staging your mesothelioma does not change the fact that you have been diagnosed with this condition, nor will it change the amount of time you have to live with the disease. Having the best specialist and receiving the best treatment available will extend your life expectancy, but it cannot make your diagnosis go away. As with any chronic illness, you must take your medications, manage your cancer, and watch for any further signs of cancer. Staging your mesothelioma does nothing to cure it, but it can reduce your impact while you are coping with the disease.

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