What Are Mesothelioma Stages?
Once a patient has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, doctors will attempt to determine how far their cancer has spread and how best to treat it through a process called staging.
The stages of mesothelioma, ranging from stage 1 to stage 4, describes the extent of cancer spread in the body. Stage 1 is the earliest mesothelioma stage with the least cancer spread, while stage 4 is the most advanced.
Each patient’s mesothelioma may behave in unique ways, but according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), similarly-staged mesothelioma tends to have a similar outlook and is often treated using the same methods.
Video Summary: Registered Nurse Amy Fair discusses the 4 stages of mesothelioma and why it's important to talk to your doctor about mesothelioma staging. View Transcript.
What are the stages of mesothelioma?
There are 4 stages of mesothelioma just as there are in most cancers. Stage 1 the mesothelioma is contained within the pleura. Stage 2 the disease has come outside the pleura and invaded into the fatty tissue of lung or the diaphragm. Stage 3 is where it’s metastasized into local organs and stage 4 is where it’s metastasized into distant organs, limp nodes and tissue.
Staging is important in mesothelioma as is in any cancer. It drives your prognosis; it drives your treatment modalities. It’s important to know if you’re a surgical candidate and the staging of your disease drives that decision. It’s important to discuss staging after you’ve had your CT or PET scan with your surgeon or oncologist.
Quick Facts About Mesothelioma Stages
- Pleural mesothelioma is the only type of mesothelioma that has been officially staged.
- Although it has no official staging, peritoneal mesothelioma is sometimes unofficially staged to help patients understand their disease outlook.
- In the United States and many other countries, mesothelioma is staged using the Tumor Node Metastasis (TNM) System — a system used to stage nearly every type of solid tumor cancer.
- Stage 4 pleural mesothelioma is the only stage considered unresectable (unable to be surgically removed).