After receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may have questions about what your diagnosis means. There are different types of mesothelioma and, like other diseases, it occurs in stages. Depending on when you catch the disease, it could be in the beginning stages of mesothelioma or it could be more advanced. Your treatment and prognosis will vary depending on these details. While realizing you have mesothelioma is a difficult fact to come to terms with, your doctor will do everything they can to provide you with the treatment you need. However, you may have other concerns, like wondering how you developed mesothelioma in the first place.
Exposure to substances that cause mesothelioma may have occurred in your past. Workers could have been exposed at their job, whether it was the building they were in or the materials used to do their job. Veterans may have been exposed while serving their country. Because it takes so long for mesothelioma to develop, those who were exposed may not realize it until years later when they have the disease. You may be a victim of negligence from a company that didn’t take proper precautions to protect you and others from the toxic substances. If you or a loved one has mesothelioma because of another party’s negligence, you can seek justice with Frost Law Firm, PC. Our experienced lawyers will stand at your side during this difficult time.
Breaking Down the Stages of Mesothelioma
Part of the diagnosis will reveal the stage of the disease, or extent of the cancer in the body. Your doctor will identify the type of mesothelioma you have and assess if the cancer cells have begun to spread. Let’s break down what those stages are and what they mean.
During stage 1, there are two stages in this process. At stage 1A, they find cancer in the chest wall lining on one side. Cancer can also be found in the tissue that covers the lung, organs between the lungs, or the tissue that covers the top of the diaphragm.
Stage 1B has the characteristics of the stage above, but with a few key differences in advancement. At stage 1B, the cancer has also spread to other areas. This can include the diaphragm, lung tissue, soft tissues of the chest wall, the fat between the lungs, the sac around the heart, and the tissue that’s between the chest wall lining and ribs.
There are two types of stage 2 mesothelioma. The cancer will be in the chest wall lining and thin tissues like in stage 1, but the cancer has also spread to the lymph nodes. According to the National Cancer Institute, these are part of the immune system and look like small bean-shaped structures. They contain white blood cells and help fight infection and disease. When cancer has spread here, it will be in the center of the chest and on the same side as the tumor.
The other type is the cancer being in the chest wall lining, thin tissues, and also the diaphragm or lung tissue. The cancer will also have spread to the lymph nodes mentioned above.
When it has progressed to stage 3, it can be in stage IIIA or IIIB. In IIIA, the cancer is in the chest wall lining, in the layers that cover the lungs, the organs between the lungs, and top of the diaphragm. The cancer has also gone to the lymph nodes and could be in the tissue between the ribs and chest wall lining, the fat between the lungs, the sac around the heart, and/or chest wall soft tissues.
Stage IIIB has similar characteristics. However, the main difference is the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes above the collarbone or along the center of the chest on the opposite side of where the tumor is located inside the chest.
Another variation of stage IIIB is when the cancer has spread to the chest wall and could be in the ribs, the peritoneum, the chest tissue lining on the opposite side as the tumor, the spine, or the sac around the heart or heart muscle. The cancer can also spread to organs between the lungs like the esophagus, trachea, thymus, or blood vessels.
At stage IV, the cancer has reached many areas of the body. This is the most advanced stage of the cancer. The following areas may have been affected in addition to the primary tumor:
- The tissue covering the lung
- The opposite lung
- Lymph nodes outside the chest
There’s also the issue of recurring mesothelioma. After treatment, it’s possible for the cancer to come back. It could be in the chest, abdomen, or other parts of the body.
Because the symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to many other health complications, receiving a speedy diagnosis during the early stages of the disease is possible, but rare. Often, a diagnosis arrives during the latter stages.
While it can be scary to learn you or a loved one has an advanced stage of mesothelioma, this doesn’t mean you’re out of treatment options. Your doctor will help put together a plan to help slow the disease and provide comfort and quality of life. The plan will likely combine various treatment types and help with the disease’s painful symptoms.
Seek Your Legal Options with Frost Law Firm, PC
When you need dependable representation, Frost Law Firm, PC is here for you. We have defended victims who developed mesothelioma because of another’s negligence. Our lawyers believe in standing up for those who were harmed and getting them the justice they deserve.
We’ll fight for you to get full and fair compensation so you can get the care you need. This will include past medical costs and the medical costs you’ll have in the future.
To get started on your case, give our office a call today. Our Hawaii mesothelioma lawyers will meet with you in an obligation-free consultation to go over the merits of your case and answer any and all of your questions. We’ll help you find the best way to proceed so you can have a secure financial future.