The four stages of mesothelioma are evaluated by oncologists using different systems. It is the Butchart System that has been most commonly used, but there are two other systems as well, the TNM System and the Brigham System. According to all three systems, mesothelioma has four stages as mentioned. However, there are differences in how each stage is described by each system.
One similarity that oncologists point out is that there are many similarities between the Butchart System and the TNM System when looking at the first two stages of mesothelioma. In regards to mesothelioma staging, just like with any other type of cancer, it is always best for treatment when detected early.
All three systems recognize that surgical options are best evaluated during Stage 1 of mesothelioma. During Stage 2, the cancer has already spread or metastasized. That doesn’t mean that surgery is off the table, however, and an oncologist can go over all the available treatment options.
However, when it comes to Stages 3 & 4, surgical options are indeed off the table for mesothelioma patients. Mesothelioma stages might be different when it comes to the three systems used for evaluation, but they are mostly subtle differences when it comes to the bottom line. For example, the Brigham System mentions that stage 3 mesothelioma means that the cancer has spread to the heart.
It is also important to note that there are different types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is typically the type of this cancer that you hear about most often. Additionally, it is the only type of this cancer that is divided up into stages. The other two types of mesothelioma, pericardial and perioneal, do not have listed stages under any available system.
Have you been given a diagnosis for mesothelioma? Maybe you are reading up on the condition because you are trying to understand the stages better according to a loved one’s diagnosis. There is a ton of information out there about this type of cancer, and you don’t have to be an oncologist to understand the stages and what might be expected. Furthermore, you can read about treatment options in relation to a diagnosis and a particular stage of mesothelioma.
Under the Butchart and TNM systems, it’s also important to point out that Stage 1 is broken down into two parts. Remember that while there are differences in all three systems, it was mentioned that the Butchart and TNM systems are similar to one another regarding how they assess Stages 1 & 2 of mesothelioma.
While Stage 1 is supposed to mean that the cancer hasn’t metastasized, stage 1B states that it means the cancer is also on the lining of the lungs. Additionally, while all systems universally recognize that mesothelioma has spread or metastasized during Stage 2, it is Stage 3 that states the cancer has spread to other organs. Stay informed about mesothelioma staging and the systems that are used to evaluate the condition and its stages. That is the best way to understand a diagnosis and treatment options.