According to the American Cancer Society, merely arriving at a diagnosis of the type of cancer known as mesothelioma isn’t enough to begin treatment. Medical providers must also “stage” the mesothelioma, which means determining how far the cancer has spread.
Mesothelioma affects the mesothelium, which is the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs. In the vast majority of cases, it’s caused by exposure to asbestos.
Currently, the only existing formal staging system is applicable when the cancer forms around the lungs, which is the most common type of mesothelioma.
After examining test results, a doctor will tell the patient what stage his or her cancer has reached. An American Joint Committee on Cancer system rates the staging by Roman numerals, with I indicating less cancer spread and IV meaning a more advanced cancer.
The American Cancer Society says doctors often group mesotheliomas based on the likelihood of the cancer being removed by surgery.
A cancer that can probably be removed is called resectable, as opposed to unresectable cancers that can’t be removed.
Doctors take into account factors including the size of the tumor and how far it has spread, the mesothelioma subtype, the tumor’s location and the overall health of the patient.
If you or a loved one have contracted mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, contact Lopez McHugh for a free consultation.
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