Mesothelioma is a deadly cancerous tumor that develops in a sufferer's protective membrane sac surrounding the vital organs. Typically the disease develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or chest and the most widely known root cause for mesothelioma is from either direct inhalation of asbestos fibers or via an indirect absorption of asbestos fibers through the pores of the patient's skin. As with other forms of cancer, typically a patient can expect mesothelioma to develop in different stages, as follows:
Stage I mesothelioma
In Stage I the mesothelioma cancer cells will start to grow and will multiple one layer at a time along the mesothelioma membrane sac.
Stage II mesothelioma
By Stage II mesothelioma, at least two layers of mesothelioma cancer cells have infected the membrane sac. However, it is important to note that even at this stage, the illness is not advanced and, likely, it will only affect one part of the affected area. Nonetheless, whereas in Stage I mesothelioma it is likely that there will be no fluid build-up, with Stage II mesothelioma the patient should be experiencing some discomfort due to a slight amount of fluid build-up. It is, however, likely that the patient's symptoms at this stage will still make it difficult for the physician examining the patient to make a precise and clear diagnosis that they are suffering from mesothelioma cancer.
Stage III mesothelioma
By the time the patient is in Stage III mesothelioma it is extremely likely that the mesothelioma cancer cells will have spread from the original infected area to lymph nodes and metastasis. During this stage of mesothelioma cancer it should become clear to any physician attending the patient that the patient is suffering from an advanced form of mesothelioma cancer. Moreover, it is highly likely that the patient will be suffering from extreme pain and discomfort and will require hospitalization.
Stage IV mesothelioma
Stage IV mesothelioma is nearly always fatal, as by this stage the cancer cells will have affected other vital organs of the body, through the blood stream, such as the liver and brain.
In order to be able to have any chance of successfully treating mesothelioma cancer it is vital that diagnosis of the disease occur at as early a stage as possible. Treatment for Stage I mesothelioma cancer includes surgery; however, by the time the lymph nodes become infected (usually found in Stage II mesothelioma), treatment needs to be more aggressive and may include a mixture of both surgery and chemotherapy. By Stage III mesothelioma additional vital organs of the body will normally have been infected, and so surgery no longer becomes an advisable course of treatment. Here, instead, the patient will need to resort to either a course of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, depending on how advanced the illness has become. Unfortunately, currently, patient's diagnosed with Stage IV mesothelioma cancer do not have cure treatments offered to them and the only treatment option made available is to try and prolong, while increasing the quality of, the life of the patient. Currently, any patient diagnosed with Stage IV mesothelioma cancer will be advised that they, typically, have less than 2 years to live.