Upon a confirmed diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, the next step is evaluation the stage of the disease. Physicians may conduct CT (computer tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans to assess the progression and appropriate treatment. The four stages of mesothelioma are:
- Stage 1 — The tumor is found in the pleura with or without some involvement of the lung, pericardium (lining of the heart) or diaphragm.
- Stage 2 — The tumor is found in a stage 1 location, plus involvement of some lymph nodes in the chest.
- Stage 3 — The tumor has extended into the chest wall, ribs or heart, through the diaphragm or into the peritoneum (the abdominal lining). There may be involvement of the lymph nodes.
- Stage 4 — The tumor has spread through the bloodstream to distant sites.
The treatment options depend on the stage of the disease. Medical advances have significantly increased life expectancy and quality of life, but mesothelioma is still ultimately fatal. The earlier the cancer is detected, the more likely that life can be extended by months or even years with surgery, radiation or drugs. In later stages, as the cancer is widespread, medical care focuses on pain management and patient care to make life as comfortable as possible for the person.
Our founding attorney, Jay Throneberry, has personal experience with mesothelioma. His father succumbed after a brave battle with the disease, and Mr. Throneberry has lived the nightmare of tending to a family member who is in great pain and knows he’s dying. Since then, he has devoted his law practice to advocating for others with mesothelioma or asbestosis.
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