Every year, there are approximately 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma. This form of cancer is caused primarily by the inhalation of asbestos and can affect people working in military, construction and manufacturing industries. Once a person inhales the microscopic asbestos fibers over a period of time, the fibers begin to embed into the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen.
The fibers cause inflammation and can lead to cancerous tumors known as mesothelioma. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you know that there are four stages of the disease. As with any cancer, the lower the stage, the less chances the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Stage four indicates that the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body and/or the lymph nodes as well. The outcome of stage four is a lot less promising.
The stages are determined by looking at the following:
- Whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the affected site
- Whether the cancer has spread to organs that are distant from the affected site
- The size of the main tumor and whether it can be removed with surgery
Although each case of mesothelioma is unique, they tend to follow a pattern described within the stages. The speed of the tumor growth may depend on the person and his or her individual characteristics.
Some cases of mesothelioma can be treated with chemotherapy and radiation, while other cases that are in later stages may be incurable.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.