Mesothelioma is an uncommon cancer that is most often caused by exposure to asbestos, a natural mineral. There is no cure for the disease. As with all cancers, it is best to catch mesothelioma in its initial stage in order to get a more optimistic prognosis.
TNM Staging System
The word “staging” is used to describe the extent to which a person’s cancer has grown, developed, or spread throughout their body. In terms of mesothelioma, TNM is one of the most common systems used to stage this type of cancer. Under the TNM system, mesothelioma is divided into four distinct stages. They are as follows:
Stage 1: During this stage, mesothelioma has invaded either the left or the right pleura. Also during this stage, the cancer may have spread to the patient’s pericardium, lung, or diaphragm. This spreading will have occurred on the same side of the patient’s body. The patient’s lymph nodes are not affected at this stage.
Stage II: During the second stage of mesothelioma, the cancer has progressed further. It has now spread from the patient’s pleura and remains on the same side of the body cavity. It spreads into the patient’s lymph nodes, which are in close proximity to the patient’s same-side lung. During this stage, the cancer may also invade the diaphragm, lung, or pericardium on the same side of the patient’s body cavity.
Stage III: In this stage, the cancer has progressed and is now inside the patient’s chest wall, ribs, muscle, heart or other bodily organs located in the patient’s chest on same side of the body as the initial mass. During stage III, the cancer may or may not have spread to the patient’s lymph nodes located on the same side as the initial mass.
This is the fourth and final stage of mesothelioma. All distant metastases goes into this stage, which means that in this stage the cancer has spread to the opposite side of the body from the location of the initial cancerous mass and even into distant regions. It has :
–invaded the patient’s chest and moved into the lymph nodes located on the opposite side of the initial mass
–it may extend to the patient’s lung or pleura on the side opposite the initial mass
–it extends straight into the patient’s abdominal organs or else it goes even further and moves into the neck.