What is Stage 1 Pleural Mesothelioma?
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is the most common type of the disease with a formal staging system. For malignant pleural mesothelioma, a physician will stage cancer-based on a few stipulations determined by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC). This method is called the TNM system. This system relies on three pieces of information about the patient’s health and only applies to MPM.
- Size of the initial tumor (T).
- Advancement to lymph nodes (N).
- Spread of the tumor to distant organs (metastasis) (M).
The TNM system establishes necessary details on where the cancer is in the patient’s body, coupled with numbers that doctors can use to differentiate levels of advancement. For stage 1 MPM, the tumor has localized to either the right or left pleural lining and has not metastasized to any other locations or lymph nodes.
Stage 1 Pleural Mesothelioma Progression
If the doctor diagnoses MPM as early as stage 1, the disease is far more treatable. Resection surgery may be an option, and the likelihood of success is higher. The TNM scale groups stage 1 pleural mesothelioma into two sections, 1A and 1B.
- Mesothelioma moved to pleural lining of the chest wall, but still localized to the origin side
- Tumor may have advanced to the pleural lining of the diaphragm (breathing muscles beneath the lungs), mediastinum (the space between the lungs), or the pleura covering the lungs
- Lymph nodes not yet affected
- Cancer has advanced into the pleural lining of the chest wall, but still localized to the origin side
- Tumors found in the pleural lining of diaphragm, mediastinum, and lung
- Mesothelioma has grown into the diaphragm or lung itself
- Lymph nodes not yet affected
Symptoms and Treatment
Patients with stage 1 mesothelioma usually go undiagnosed, due to the fact this stage usually has little to no symptoms. Even if symptoms do happen to appear, the patient may mistake them for other less-severe conditions, such as the flu. Regardless, it’s essential to remain vigilant, especially if you or a loved one happens to have any history with asbestos. If these symptoms persist, go to a doctor right away.
Stage 1 pleural mesothelioma symptoms include
- Body Aches
- Chest Pain
- Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
- Persistent cough
Treatment for stage 1 depends on the general health of the patient and where the tumor has spread. Since stage 1 is still pretty early in the advancement of the disease, surgery can still be performed to remove tumors (resection). If the surgeon cannot remove all the tumors, they may implement radiation, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy to remove the remaining lesions.
Life Expectancy and Prognosis
After mesothelioma is diagnosed and staged, the doctor will advise the patient on their prognosis and life expectancy. Oncologists gather this information from the results of other patients who were diagnosed with the same or similar conditions. Life expectancy rate determines how long other patients have survived after their initial diagnosis, while the prognosis is the anticipated progression of the disease.
Stage 1 MPM survival rates for patients undergoing treatment are between 21 and 40 months, but each patient’s case is unique and can turn out different than predicted. New and improved treatment options for patients are also getting developed that can improve life expectancy. A patient may also improve their prognosis by making specific lifestyle changes recommended by their doctor. Changing diet and exercise habits are steps a patient could make to improve their diagnosis.
When a patient makes small, dietary changes can vastly help a prognosis. Changes such as eliminating oils, increasing more vegetables, fruits, grains, fluids, and high in protein.
Moderate exercise that gets the heart pumping and sweat flowing can also aid a mesothelioma prognosis. One hundred fifty minutes of less-intensive aerobic work each week with a couple days of muscle activity could help, but the exercises performed should primarily hinge on the patient’s comfort levels, and what their doctor recommends.
A cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming for both patients and their families. Learn more about mesothelioma treatment options today.