Once the mesothelioma is found in your body, your doctor will determine its stage. Knowing the stage of the tumor is very important; it helps your doctor to choose the appropriate treatment, and determine the prognosis.
There are several methods used to describe mesothelioma stages. The most common is the use of Roman numerals: I, II, III and IV, which reads as stage I, stage II, stage III, and stage IV. A higher number indicates a more serious mesothelioma. In general, mesothelioma stages include the following:
- Stage I – the cancer has not affected the ganglia; it remains in your right or left pleura. At this stage, the tumor is localized in one side of your chest.
- Stage II – at this stage, the cancer has reached the pleura on one side and spread into the lymph nodes near the lung. The tumor can also spread to the lungs, pericardium or the diaphragm.
- Stage III – at stage 3, the mesothelioma becomes more serious. It can affect the chest wall, muscles, heart, lymph nodes, esophagus or other organs in the chest that are in the same side as the primary tumor.
- Stage IV – In this final stage, the disease have a complete control over your body. The mesothelioma has metastasized from the primary tumor into distant areas: the brain, lymph nodes in the chest, organs of the abdominal cavity, or the neck.