Mesothelioma is a disease with a huge latency period. In a nutshell, latency period attributes to the time duration between the exposure to the causative agent and the very onset of the disease. For mesothelioma, the causative agent is asbestos. The signs of this disease show much after susceptibility to asbestos. In some cases, this may be even after 20-50 years.
In countless events, pleura mesothelioma (lung cancer) is confused for pneumonia and this leads to dreadful consequences. What actually happens is that the patient is in the last stages before they realize they have such a killer illness. Hence, very little can be done to help them in the last stages of cancer.
Stages of Mesothelioma
This system is applied to define the Mesothelioma staging system. The whole basis of this system is the degree to which the tumor has spread. The different levels of mesothelioma based on this system are as outlined below:
In this level, mesothelioma is on the left side or the right side of the lungs. It also may be in the diaphragm or pericardium. In this stage, mesothelioma is solely on the left or right side lungs.
In this point of mesothelioma, the disease develops to the other side of pleura or the lymph nodes or to the esophagus or heart or even chest wall.
During this stage, the infection is in a very critical assaulting point. It grows from the diaphragm into the peritoneum. While in the earlier stage, the lymph nodes of the chest are affected, here it may affect the lymph nodes beyond the chest too.
It is the final terrifying stage of mesothelioma wherein the disease gradually spreads to the other body organs.
-TNM staging System
This TNM system is very similar to that used for other sorts of cancers. In this system:
T refers for tumor
N refers to the assault on lymph nodes
M refers to metasis.
This staging system is based on the understanding:
>the size of the tumor and the degree to which it has spread to peripheral organs
>the degree of spread to lymph nodes
>the degree of spread to other distant organs.
The different stages of mesothelioma as per the TNM staging system are as illustrated below:
The mesothelioma may either be in the right or the left pleura. It may also have affected the pericardium or the diaphragm of a particular side.
The infection may have spread to the pericardium, lungs, lymph nodes diaphragm of a particular side.
During this stage, the mesothelioma may have spread into the muscles of the chest wall, esophagus, heart, ribs and other organs of a particular side. It may also have developed further into the lymph nodes of the particular side.
In this level, mesothelioma strikes the lymph nodes in the chest on a similar side or begin spreading to the lungs on the other side. Furthermore, if mesothelioma is detected in the outlying organs or if it spreads to body organs other than the chest and abdomen, (through the bloodstream), it is the 4th stage.
Although the TNM system is more precise and comprehensive, the Butchart system is commonly used to explain the stages of mesothelioma. Whichever the staging system adopted, it is necessary to note that mesothelioma stage depiction is crucial for deciding the type of therapy to be used on a patient.