There are four identified stages of malignant mesothelioma, and Stage I is the first and most treatable of these. A mesothelioma patient that has been identified as being in Stage I has cancer, but it is localized and has not metastasized to other areas of the body beyond where it originated. From a treatment perspective this is very good news, as when cancer is confined to a particular area it is much more accessible and the prognosis for effective treatment is high. Though mesothelioma is always considered to be a fatal condition, patients whose mesothelioma is diagnosed as Stage I have the longest projected survival. Unfortunately, it is extremely uncommon for a patient to be diagnosed at this very early stage, as symptoms do not generally appear until the tumors begin to grow in other areas of the body.
Symptoms of Stage I Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that has an extremely long latency period. This means that the condition can exist in the body for a very long time without ever manifesting symptoms. For most mesothelioma patients, diagnosis does not come until the tumors have grown large enough to create discomfort, lumps, or other signs that something is wrong. Those patients that are diagnosed with Stage I mesothelioma are often those who have reported their earlier asbestos exposure to their physicians and have submitted to regular testing as a proactive step.
In some cases, patients who experience symptoms are classified as being in Stage Ia or Ib. The symptoms that are most likely to make themselves known at this stage include general fatigue, lethargy, weight loss, pleural effusions and difficulty in breathing. Some patients may be experiencing pain in the chest or abdomen, skin rashes, or coughing and wheezing.
Stage I Mesothelioma Treatment
Generally speaking, patients who are diagnosed when their mesothelioma cancer is still in Stage I have a wide range of treatment options available to them. Unless a patient has other health conditions that prevent them from being a good candidate for surgery, the most likely course of treatment will be a multi-modality approach that will combine the use of surgery with either radiation therapy or chemotherapy. The surgery will be provided to remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible, while chemotherapy or radiation therapy will follow in order to address any cancer cells that were left behind.
Stage I Mesothelioma Prognosis
Though every mesothelioma patient is different and the disease is highly unpredictable, people who are diagnosed with Stage I mesothelioma and who are in generally good condition have the best prognosis and are expected to be able to live for a longer period then most mesothelioma patients. There are many factors that can effect prognosis, including the patient’s age, gender, and how much asbestos they have been exposed to. The course of treatment that has been selected can also play a large part in an individual patient’s outlook.
Legal Help for Mesothelioma Patients
People who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma may be eligible for compensation from the $30 billion asbestos trust funds, or to file a mesothelioma lawsuit against the asbestos companies that negligently exposed them to asbestos. If you or someone you love has an asbestos-related condition like mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos lung cancer, contact our office today at 1-800-793-4540. We will put you in touch with one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys or send you a free Financial Compensation Packet that will provide you with helpful information about the compensation that you may be eligible to receive.