Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that stems from exposure to airborne asbestos dust and fibers. Although there have been some breakthroughs in treatment for mesothelioma over recent years, a cure has yet to be discovered. However, there are a number of options when it comes to treatment, from surgery to palliative therapy and radiation treatment. The best type of treatment will be based upon a number of factors, such as the patient's age, health, medical history, and the stage of the mesothelioma.
The first, earliest stage of mesothelioma, which is stage one, is when the cancer is localized, and depending on whether the patient has pleural, pericardial, or peritoneal mesothelioma, the tumor will be found in the lung, chest, or abdominal cavity during the first and earliest stage. Often, surgery is used to remove the tumor during this stage of mesothelioma.
If the tumor has spread beyond the lining of the cavity, the mesothelioma has gone into the second stage. With stage two mesothelioma, the cancer spreads beyond the protective lining of the cavity, and is, therefore, no longer localized. Treatment for stage two mesothelioma can include fluid removal, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and other options, coupled with supportive care.
Stage three of mesothelioma is when the cancer spreads further into various areas, such as the diaphragm, the heart, or the chest wall. Again, supportive care, coupled with one of a number of treatments to ease symptoms, may be used in the stage three period.
When distant metastasis takes place, which is where the cancer spreads to body parts that are nowhere near the original cancer site, the patient has stage four mesothelioma, which is the most advanced of the stages, although stages two and three are also considered advanced. Although no cure is possible, treatments can be looked at to ease the pain and symptoms associated with advanced mesothelioma.
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