Saturday, July 11, 2009

What Are The Four Stages of Mesothelioma Cancer?

One rare form of cancer is called Mesothelioma, a malignant tumor in the mesothelial tissues of the lungs and the abdomen, arising from the inhalation of asbestos. Its rarity is one of the reasons why a lot of people are not aware of this kind of fatal disease. In fact, many people die of Mesothelioma undiagnosed. Although there is now a growing awareness of the hazards of asbestos to health, still many have not heard of Mesothelioma and thus, have not understood its nature, cause, signs and treatment. Even some physicians find it hard to detect Mesothelioma because its symptoms are akin to other diseases like lung cancer and pneumonia. Furthermore, it takes decades for a patient who was exposed to asbestos to develop Mesothelioma — fifty years, at most.

Being unaware of Mesothelioma poses higher risks since it deters diagnosis and treatment. A person undergoing treatment must know the different stages of the cancer or the extent of the disease. Chances of recovering from Mesothelioma and the kind of treatment depend on the stage of the illness. There are basically two staging systems used for Pleural Mesothelioma (lungs): TNM system and Brighan system. These staging systems are also used in other kinds of cancers; however, the first is commonly used. There is no established method in determining the stage of the Peritoneal Mesothelioma cancer (abdominal) so the TNM system is used.

There are three variables in the TNM system: tumor, lymph nodes and metastasis. In the earliest stage of Mesothelioma, stage I, the malignant Mesothelioma cells start to grow and multiply only one layer of the pleura. The pleura is the membrane that encloses the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity. However, there are some instances wherein the pericardium (membrane that covers the heart) and diaphragm cover are already affected. In this case, the cancer patient is still in stage I Mesothelioma.

In the second stage, the two layers of the pleura are already affected by Mesothelioma. Take note, however, that in this stage, only one side of the body is affected. Normally, the pleura produces only small amount of lubricating fluid that allows easy expanding and contracting of the lungs. The excess fluid is absorbed by the blood and the lymph vessels so there’s a balance between the amount of fluid produced and removed. During the second stage Mesothelioma, fluid starts to build up between the membrane of the lungs and the membrane of the chest wall, resulting to pleural effusion. The increase in the volume of fluid produced causes shortness of breath and chest pain. Other Mesothelioma cancer patients experience dry and persistent cough. Diagnosis of the pleural effusion is achieved through a chest x-ray.

Stage III Mesothelioma means that the malignant cells have already spread to the chest wall, esophagus and the lymph nodes on one part of the chest. The patient may suffer severe pain near the parts affected. When not treated immediately or when the Mesothelioma patient doesn’t respond well to medication, the cancer may advance to the fourth stage. The fourth stage Mesothelioma is formidable since at this stage the Mesothelioma cells have penetrated into the bloodstream and other organs in the body like the liver, the bones and the brain. The lymph nodes on the other side of the chest may also be affected by Mesothelioma in stage IV.

Brighan staging system, on the other hand, determines whether the Mesothelioma can be surgically removed or not and whether the lymph nodes are affected or not. In stage I Mesothelioma, the lymph nodes are not yet affected and the patient can still recover through surgery. In stage II, surgery can still be executed but some lymph nodes have already been infiltrated by the cancer cells. In stage III, the heart and chest wall are already affected; thus, surgery is no longer advisable. The lymph nodes in this stage, however, may or may not be affected. In the final stage, stage IV Mesothelioma, cancer cells have already gone to the bloodstream and other parts of the body like the heart, brain, bone and liver. In most cases, a patient who has reached stage IV Mesothelioma only has four to twenty-four months to live.

David Arnold Livingston is a believer in gaining knowledge around Health issues and recommends, as a resource:

Mesothelioma Cancer and Asbestos

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which occurs in thin membranes (called the mesothelium) lining the chest, lungs, abdomen and sometimes the heart. Although quite rare, mesothelioma symptoms strike more than 200 people each year in the United States. The majority of mesothelioma cases are directly linked to asbestos exposure.

Because of the long latency period of mesothelioma, the average age of patients is between 50 and 70 years. Mesothelioma affects men most due to the high exposure of asbestos in industrial typed jobs. Mesothelioma symptoms include respiratory problems, shortness of breath, continual cough and pneumonia. Other mesothelioma symptoms include weight loss, abdominal problems and swelling. In some mesothelioma patients, the mesothelioma symptoms are quite muted, making it hard for mesothelioma doctors to diagnose.

Mesothelioma doctors specialize in the study, research, and treatments of Mesothelioma cancers.

Mesothelioma (or the cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells become abnormal and replicate without control. During Mesothelioma, these cells will invade and damage tissues and organs. Mesothelioma cancer cells can spread throughout the body causing death.

Mesothelioma treatments and Mesothelioma clinical trials and tests
There are many mesothelioma treatment options available. Treatments include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy and the mesothelioma treatment depends on the patient’s age, general health and stage of the cancer. There has been much mesothelioma research conducted throughout the past two years to find new treatment methods. Click here to read more about mesothelioma treatment techniques.

Through mesothelioma research, The National Cancer Institute has sponsored mesothelioma tests and clinical trials that are designed to find new treatment methods. Because of the increase in number of mesothelioma cases in the United States, both governments have increased funding for mesothelioma research. Mesothelioma research and clinical trials have been successful in developing new techniques to fight this cancer and the outlook for more advanced mesothelioma treatments is promising.

Surgery is the most common treatment method for malignant mesothelioma. Tissues and linings affected by mesothelioma are removed by the doctor and may include the lung or even diaphragm.

A second mesothelioma treatment method is radiation therapy through the use of high energy x-rays that kill the cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be outside or inside the body.

A third mesothelioma treatment method is chemotherapy. Through pills or drugs through needles, chemotherapy drugs are used to kill cancer cells.

A new mesothelioma treatment method is called intraoperative photodynamic therapy. In this treatment, light and drugs are used to kill cancer cells during surgery for early stages of mesothelioma in the chest. Although there are numerous treatments and drugs for mesothelioma, doctors are loosing the battle against this deadly disease. Most mesothelioma treatments involve old techniques combined with different drug cocktails. However, in most cases, these mesothelioma treatments have many side effects including organ damage, nausea, increase in heart failure etc. The rush to find a more effective mesothelioma treatment or even cure is ongoing at numerous clinical labs across the nation. Let's hope that the mesothelioma treatments will one day erradicate mesothelioma cancer and asbestosis.

With an abundance of information on the Internet, Mesothelioma Cancer and Asbestos ( has consolidated the most important issues surrounding Mesothelioma, Mesothelioma doctors and symptoms, Mesothelioma treatment, Mesothelioma research and tests.

At, the website contains useful resources on Mesothelioma lawyers and attorneys, as well as causes by asbestos exposure, asbestos removal, asbestos attorneys and lawsuits, and asbestos cancer. Patients stricken by Mesothelioma and their families require support and current information. Mesothelioma Online Resources hopes to educate and give hope to survivors and victims.

Mesothelioma is such a harsh disease. Not only does it take years for symptoms to appear, but there are limited treatements and drugs that will prolong the lives of workers stricken with mesothelioma. In many cases, the death rate of mesothelioma is unfortunately very high. However, with increased funding in mesothelioma research through the government and private grants, the outlook for a mesothelioma cure is quite possible. In the meantime, mesothelioma support groups and local discussions provide the ongoing support for mesothelioma patients.

Mesothelioma Cancer and Asbestos ( your source for mesothelioma and asbestos information, treatments, clinical trials, attorneys, support groups and lawyers.

About the website: Michael Kenneth is a successful Internet Publisher and has researched and written on many topics for - your complete source for mesothelioma information, mesothelioma attorneys and lawyers, mesothelioma treatments and research, asbestos exposure and removal, asbestos attorneys and legislation as well as asbestos cancer.