What is Stage 1 Pleural mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare yet aggressive cancer which affects the protective lining that surrounds vital organs such as the lungs, stomach, abdomen, and heart. Hence Stage 1 pleural mesothelioma is the first stage of this cancer, and it affects the pleura (protective lining covering the lungs and the chest wall). This early stage, of this cancer, appears in two parts:
• 1A where the tumors develop in the chest lining
• 1B where cancer starts to spread to the nearest tissues such as lungs, diaphragm, and mediastinum.
Even if cancer has spread to the nearest tissues, it is still stage1 mesothelioma since it has not affected the bloodstream and the lymph nodes.
Pleural mesothelioma symptoms do not develop until 10 to 50 years after asbestos exposure. Therefore, the delay in symptoms and the rare nature of the tumor makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose it at this stage. Again, the symptoms of cancer at this stage are similar to other lungs infections such as asthma, flu, and pneumonia. These signs include:
- Chest pain
- Pressure on the chest
- Persistent dry cough
- Fever• Breathing difficulties•
- Abdominal pain
- General body aches
Most cases of Stage 1 pleural mesothelioma are discovered accidentally when a doctor is looking for other problems. Other diagnoses are through cancer screening of patients known to have asbestos exposure. X-rays and CT scans are the methods used to diagnose the tumor. Then doctors use a surgical biopsy to ascertain the case.
The known cause of Stage 1 pleural mesothelioma is asbestos exposure caused by negligent manufacturers. Therefore, patients can take legal actions against such manufacturers. If the case is successful, the patient gets compensation covering treatment, damages incurred and other expenses.
Stage 1 pleural mesothelioma patients undergo various curative procedures to remove the tumor and extend their life expectancy. Since the disease is on the lining of the chest and has not spread, it is easier to remove it at this stage. The following are procedures used to remove cancer before it spreads.
Pleurectomy with Decortication(P/D)– The P/D is a surgical procedure that removes the affected parts of the lung’s lining while leaving the lungs intact. Then, the doctors perform decortications where they carefully remove any visible tumor near the lungs.
Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP) -The EPP is an extensive surgical procedure for patients with stage 1 and stage 2 of pleural mesothelioma. The surgery removes the entire lung affected to decrease the chance of the tumor recurrence. If the disease has spread, doctors may also remove other parts such as the heart lining, chest pleura, and the diaphragm.
After any of the two procedures, patients receive chemotherapy (anticancer drug) to kill any mesothelioma cells left after the surgery. Patients also undergo radiation therapy as a precaution to prevent recurrence of the tumor.
The response to treatment of Stage 1 pleural mesothelioma is generally positive although stage 1 is rarely diagnosed. If diagnosed, various treatment options are available, and chances of recovery are high. However, factors like age and health also affect the prognosis.