A mesothelioma diagnosis of Stage I signifies the cancer is localized – only occurring in the sac that covers the heart for pericardial mesothelioma, the lining of the lung for pleural mesothelioma or the lining of the diaphragm for peritoneal mesothelioma. Patients that discover cancer in this stage may be able to fight for a longer period of time to enjoy life.
When mesothelioma cancer has spread beyond the point of origin, this is considered Stage II. Cancer could be found in lymph nodes or the chest lining. Similar to Stage I, Stage II cancer may reach areas such as the diaphragm or the sac covering the heart or the lining of the lungs. At this stage, mesothelioma life expectancy has decreased.
Many Stage III cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed once a patient has noticed symptoms that will not go away. This is when the cancer is confirmed to have spread to the mediastinum, heart lining of the peritoneum, chest wall and perhaps beyond the diaphragm. Unfortunately, this is an ugly discovery for victims of mesothelioma. In most cases, the cancer is now in both sides of the patients’ chest and perhaps beyond. Surgeries could be considered at this point but they would be palliative (non-curative) and only used to relieve the symptoms of the patient and make what is left of life more comfortable.
The final stage of cancer – culminating in the mesothelioma life expectancy struggle – is Stage IV. This is when cancer has spread to a distant location within the body. Unfortunately, this stage proves to be very painful, and more palliative treatments can be performed to alleviate some of this pain and improve comfort. Mesothelioma life expectancy is, however, drastically decreased at this stage.
Statistics have shown us that all forms of mesothelioma are fatal. The most common form contracted is pleural mesothelioma affecting the tissues surrounding the lungs. Because of this, there is significantly more research, information, and mesothelioma treatment methods for this form of mesothelioma.
The other two types of mesothelioma, peritoneal and pericardial, prove more challenging as there are literally not the opportunities afforded for research and development of these diseases. There are other, extremely rare, forms of mesothelioma such as testicular mesothelioma that carry a very poor prognosis and mesothelioma life expectancy.
Even though all forms of mesothelioma are eventually fatal, the typical life expectancy is 2 years for most patients because of the latency period for the discovery of the disease. Mesothelioma symptoms closely mimic those of common ailments so many patients do not seek treatment for decades, unaware that they are living with a silent killer in their bodies.