Stage 1 Mesothelioma
Cancer, in general, is staged according to a variety of systems. The ones most often used for the staging of mesothelioma include the Butchart, TNM, and Brigham systems. Each indicates something a little different about each stage of the disease but the systems are fairly consistent across the board.
Because mesothelioma remains latent in the body for several decades, in most cases, this cancer is hardly ever diagnosed in Stage 1. However, in the rare instance that it is, the guidelines for staging are as follows:
§ Butchart System – This is the oldest staging system and is generally the one used for the staging of malignant pleural mesothelioma – that which attacks the lining of the lungs. Stage 1 in the Butchart System indicates that the cancer is either on the left or on the right and is limited to just one section of the pleural membrane. It may also be found in the diaphragm, but only on one side.
§ TNM System – The “Tumor, Node, Metastasis” system examines the size of the cancer, whether it has spread to the lymph nodes, and whether it has metastasized to other body organs or tissue. With pleural mesothelioma, Stage 1 indicates that the tumor is on one side of the pleura only and may have spread to the lung, pericardium, or diaphragm on the same side. No lymph nodes are involved nor is there spreading to distant sites. In peritoneal mesothelioma, this stage indicates that the cancer is on one side of the abdomen and has not spread to other parts of the body.
§ Brigham System – This is the newest of the three staging systems. It concerns itself with surgical removal of tumors and whether the disease has spread to the lymph nodes. Hence, in Stage 1, the tumor is resectable and is usually removed. This is a rare occurrence with mesothelioma because of the long latency period.
Treating Stage 1 Mesothelioma
Typically, a patient found to be suffering from Stage 1 mesothelioma will be referred to a surgeon for removal of the tumor. This may be followed up by chemotherapy and/or radiation to be sure all the cancer is eradicated. Again, patients with mesothelioma are rarely found to be in Stage 1 at the time of diagnosis, so surgery is often not an option.
- Cancer Help, UK: The Stages of Mesothelioma. http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/help/default.asp?page=4465
- National Cancer Institute: Stages of Mesothelioma http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/malignantmesothelioma/Patient/page2
- American Cancer Society: How is Malignant Mesothelioma Staged http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_3X_How_is_malignant_mesothelioma_staged_29.asp?sitearea=
Last modified: April 13, 2010.