What Are the Stages of Mesothelioma?
Pleural mesothelioma is a disease that affects the mesothelium, a protective membrane that covers most of the internal organs. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of mesothelioma, although it is not the only one. This form of mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. This cause of mesothelioma is now known to be quite widespread, despite its prevalence in workplaces.
As with all the other forms of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma can be divided into two major groups: peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma. In the case of peritoneal mesothelioma, the cancer affects the abdominal cavity or abdominal organs, while pericardial mesothelioma affects the heart and lungs. Treatment options for these two forms of mesothelioma are generally the same. However, because the treatment methods for each differ greatly, it is important to understand your mesothelioma’s specific treatment and prognosis in order to decide which treatments are most appropriate for you.
As with any cancer, the life expectancy for people with this disease is very low. As per statistics, the life expectancy for patients with pericardial mesothelioma is between two and three years, while the median survival time for testicular mesothelioma is between four and five years. This is despite the fact that treatment options are highly successful in both cases. In the case of peritoneal mesothelioma, if the cancer spreads to the pleura (the membrane covering the lungs and heart), the life expectancy increases to up to seven years. In the case of testicular mesothelioma, the life expectancy increases to between eight and nine years.
As with the life expectancy for patients with other forms of cancer, mesothelioma patients who are diagnosed at an early stage with this condition have a good chance of beating the cancer. On the other hand, as the cancer progresses through various stages, the mesothelioma patients’ life expectancy gradually decreases. In fact, the life expectancies for these two forms of mesothelioma vary by more than a year at times. This is especially true for patients who have been treated and diagnosed early.
The treatment methods employed for patients with this condition vary according to the stages they are in. These include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or palliative care. Surgery or palliative care, which involves removing the symptoms of mesothelioma rather than aggressively treating the cancer itself, has proven to be very effective in the management of this condition. For instance, in stage four mesothelioma, treatment methods include chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. When chemotherapy is used to fight the disease, the treatment usually lasts for about six months and can in some instances, be longer. Radiotherapy kills mesothelioma cells with the use of high-energy rays.
In the final stages of this condition, once the tumors have spread to other parts of the body, the only course of action is to allow the patient to succumb to the condition. When this stage reaches its pinnacle, mesothelioma can no longer be treated with traditional methods and may even prove to be fatal. In order to prevent spreading the disease, it is important that you seek timely medical advice and undergo all tests that are ordered. The earlier you detect your condition, the more likely you are to survive. Mesothelioma can be a serious and dangerous disease but with early diagnosis, proper treatments and timely care, you stand a chance of surviving.