The TNM staging system can be used to diagnose mesothelioma staging. Stage 1 is the lowest of 4 stages: Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3 and Stage 4. Each of these stages corresponds to a different treatment and prognosis. Each stage diagnosis of mesothelioma is based upon the prior diagnosis of cancer within the T, N, M staging:
Stage 1: T1, N0, M0: This is a rare for a mesothelioma as a patient would typically be asymptomatic. For pleural mesothelioma this would mean local growth into the pleura cells without any invasion into the lymph nodes or organs. This is the most treatable form of mesothelioma.
Stage 1A & 1B Mesothelioma
A stage 1a mesothelioma diagnosis where the cancer cells are within the parietal pleura but not yet the visceral pleura.
A stage 1b mesothelioma diagnosis where the cancer cells can be located within the visceral pleura.
Stage 1 Mesothelioma Prognosis
The prognosis and average life expectancy with stage 1 mesothelioma is higher than with stages 2, 3 or 4. Unfortunately this diagnosis is atypical as stage 1 mesothelioma would not typically present any symptoms. Without symptoms a diagnosis of stage 1 mesothelioma typically only occurs when the cancer is found while seeking or treating unrelated health conditions.
At stage 1, the cancer can only be located within a single area (possibly as one or several separate tumors in a single area), hasn’t invaded critical organs, hasn’t been discovered within the lymphatic system and is a great candidate for surgery to remove the primary tumor.
The average life expectancy with stage 1 mesothelioma after diagnosis is 3 years to 40 months.
Stage 1 Surgery Treatment
Surgery to remove the tumor found with stage 1 mesothelioma would require the removal of all visible portions of the tumor, as well as any accessible surrounding tissue that could be safety removed at the same time, as the edge of the tumor can be difficult to view or determine.
The surgery, if it does not involve aggressive removal of one lung, is known as a pleurectomy. An extrapleural pneumonectomy also removes additional heart lining, lymph nodes, portions of the diaphragm and one lung. For stage 1 diagnosis, less invasive surgeries are common.
Stage 1 Care
Your doctor may decide that due to the possible presence of cancer cells beyond the tumor site, and the nature of mesothelioma diagnosis and the typical progression of mesothelioma cancers, additional aggressive treatment is required. Even after a surgery to remove stage 1 mesothelioma tumors, your doctors may recommend radiation and/or chemotherapy after resection surgery.
The combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy is known as multimodal therapy. Multimodal means multiple types, in this case the combination of both chemo and radiation therapies.
Radiation therapy: Used to shrink any tumors not removed by surgery and to reduce the risk of recurrence of tumors.
Chemotherapy: Used to kill cancer cells that remain after resection surgery.
Stage 1 Mesothelioma Life Expectancy
Using both therapies simultaneously has been shown to improve expected lifespan for patients diagnosed with stage 1 mesothelioma, by reducing the odds of recurrence and increasing the time until recurrence.
While stage 1 mesothelioma has the best prognosis, it should be noted that even with complete removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue, it is expected that cancer will develop elsewhere and new tumors will form.
Patients that underwent aggressive treatment reached an average lifespan post diagnosis of 3 years to 40 months.
Other Stages of Mesothelioma
To read more about other stages of mesothelioma, click here:
More Information about Mesothelioma
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