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Stage 1 Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, as well as the chest cavity and walls. The number one cause of pleural mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos – a naturally occurring carcinogen that is toxic when inhaled or ingested.

There are four stages of mesothelioma. Stage 1 is the earliest stage, and the best time to diagnose a patient with pleural mesothelioma. It has the most treatment options and the most positive prognosis for a patient. Due to little to no symptoms appearing this early, however, it can be difficult to diagnose a patient while still in stage 1.

What Is Stage 1 Mesothelioma?

Stage 1 mesothelioma means a doctor has diagnosed pleural mesothelioma at the very beginning of the cancer’s development. In stage 1, pleural mesothelioma is still localized to its place of origin, typically the lung, and has not spread to the lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body (metastasized). Although there is no known cure for pleural mesothelioma at any stage, stage 1 is the most desirable diagnosis, as it offers the most aggressive treatment options.

What Are the Symptoms of Stage 1 Mesothelioma?

In most cases, a patient diagnosed with stage 1 mesothelioma will not notice any symptoms. It is often detected in its earliest stages by accident when a doctor uses x-rays or scans to search for another illness or is evaluating a patient with known asbestos exposure for signs of cancer.

It is not usually until later, after pleural mesothelioma has progressed into stage 2 or 3, that a patient notices symptoms serious enough to go to a doctor. However, it may be possible to experience very mild symptoms that often do not require medical attention, such as slight pain or breathlessness. Mesothelioma symptoms generally worsen over time into severe pain, trouble breathing, difficulty swallowing and a chronic cough.

Can Stage 1 Mesothelioma Be Cured?

Sadly, stage 1 mesothelioma cannot be cured. There is no known cure for malignant pleural mesothelioma at any stage. Although stage 1 pleural mesothelioma offers the best patient prognosis and longest life expectancy, it is still a terminal illness.

Malignant cancer caused by asbestos exposure is always deadly. However, treatments are available. A multimodal mesothelioma treatment approach can allow a patient to alleviate and control symptoms, live more comfortably, and extend his or her life. This is especially true for patients diagnosed with stage 1 mesothelioma.

Stage 1 Mesothelioma Types

Stage 1 pleural mesothelioma is only one type of mesothelioma cancer from asbestos exposure. There is also stage 1 pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the heart, peritoneal mesothelioma (the lining of the abdomen), and testicular mesothelioma (the lining of the testes). However, pleural mesothelioma is the most common type by a large margin.

Within stage 1 pleural mesothelioma, there are two different types of diagnoses. Stage 1A means tumors have developed in one or both layers of the lining of the lung. Stage 2A means the tumors have begun to spread into other tissues surrounding the pleura, such as the chest wall or tissues beneath the pleural lining. In both cases, however, stage 1 means the cancer has not yet metastasized.

Stage 1 Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Patients with stage 1 mesothelioma have a better prognosis than all the other stages. Since the cancer is localized in the lung, it is often easier for surgeons to remove all of it with curative surgeries. Then, chemotherapy and other types of radiation therapy treatments can damage or destroy any remaining cancer cells.

Treatments for pleural mesothelioma are continuously improving. Today, the average life expectancy from the date of diagnosis is three years. Just a few years ago, the average life expectancy was only one year. With a multimodal treatment approach, a patient with stage 1 mesothelioma may live for several years after the diagnosis.

Stage 1 Mesothelioma Treatment

The main reason patients with stage 1 mesothelioma have better prognoses and survival rates than patients with more advanced stages is the availability of treatment options. With stage 1, before the cancer has spread, most patients are eligible for all three types of available mesothelioma treatment:

  1. Surgery
    1. Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D)
    2. Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP)
    3. Cytoreduction
  2. Chemotherapy
  3. Radiation

Being eligible for a major surgery to treat mesothelioma leads to the highest survival rates. As stage 1 mesothelioma progresses and metastasized, a patient’s treatment options will become more limited. A patient with a higher stage of pleural mesothelioma can still receive palliative treatments, however, to ease symptoms and increase quality of life.

Stage 1 Mesothelioma FAQ

Q: How long can I live with stage 1 mesothelioma?

A: The answer to this question varies significantly from patient to patient and is still being studied by experts. Currently, the median life expectancy for stage 1 pleural mesothelioma is 22 months. However, studies show that about 18% of patients diagnosed with stage 1 pleural mesothelioma survive at least 5 years. Life expectancy will depend on your unique case and treatment options. With P/D surgery, almost 60% of patients survived for at least two years. With EPP, about 40% survived for two years.

Q: Is stage 1 mesothelioma curable?

A: Currently, no cure exists for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma at any stage. However, patients diagnosed in stage 1 have better prognoses and life expectancies than other stages. There are treatment options that can improve life expectancy. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options, as well as whether you are eligible for mesothelioma clinical trials.

Q: Can I file a lawsuit for stage 1 mesothelioma?

A: It may be possible to file a lawsuit if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with stage 1 pleural mesothelioma. If your lawyer can trace your cancer back to when you were exposed to asbestos and connect this to someone else’s negligence, that party may be financially responsible for your medical bills, surgeries, pain and suffering, and other losses.

If, for example, a previous employer of yours knew of the risk of asbestos exposure as a worker but failed to equip you with the proper protective gear, that employer may be liable for your illness now, even if decades have passed since the date of exposure. Discuss your legal options in more detail with a mesothelioma attorney in New York today.

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