Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lungs and the abdomen. When this cancer begins to spread it is known as metastasis. This condition is divided into a stage. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and there are several different options for treatment.
What is Stage 4 Pleural Mesothelioma?
Stage 4 is the last stage of this cancer and the mesothelioma has spread throughout the body. There are few treatment options at this stage and doctors focus on relieving the symptoms that a person is feeling. When a person reaches stage 4 it is pleural mesothelioma.
What to Expect at Stage 4
At this stage, a person is given a survival rate that is around one year. According to the National Cancer Institute, only 6.9 percent of the people that have reached stage 4 pleural mesothelioma live more than 5 years. There are some new treatment options that are being tested to increase life expectancy.
Symptoms of Stage 4 Pleural Mesothelioma
When a person reaches stage 4 they may notice additional symptoms that did not appear before. Some of the symptoms include a general feeling of being ill, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, pain in the abdominal area, hemoptysis or coughing up blood, fever, and chills, and unexplained weight loss.
When a person has stage 4 pleural mesothelioma the treatment will focus on making a person comfortable and improving their quality of life. There are some options that are still available to them.
At this stage, the goal is to manage pain rather than cure cancer. At this stage, it is called palliative care.
A specialist can perform surgery to remove some of the tumors which can help reduce the symptoms. They can also perform a procedure known as thoracentesis which can remove some of the fluid to help ease discomfort in the body.
This will help reduce the pain for some people but there are additional risks at stage 4. Chemotherapy can slow the growth of the tumors, so it may be worth the risk.
This form of therapy is commonly recommended as it can help reduce the pain that a person is in. This form of therapy will reduce the size of the tumors which will reduce the pressure that is being put on the chest.
There are several methods that doctors use to determine the stages of mesothelioma. When a person gets to stage 4 the Butchart system is often used. This will determine how far cancer spread into the body. By the time a person is at stage four the cancer cells have spread from the lining of the lungs and have entered the bloodstream. The tumors are located throughout the body and can be located far from the original tumor. At this state, palliative treatments are often used.
When a person is not feeling well they should visit the doctor right away. The sooner that cancers including mesothelioma are detected, the higher the possibility it is to treat them. By the time a person reaches stage 4, the treatments are designed to make them comfortable rather than cure cancer.