When a person diagnosed with mesothelioma gets word that they are classified as Stage IV, they are being told that they are in the disease’s most advanced stage and have few options or hope available. Though every patient is unique and each diagnosis is different, a Stage IV diagnosis means that the cancer has metastasized well beyond the site where it originated and has been found in a number of other organs and areas of the body. Surgery to remove the cancer would be nearly impossible, but may provide some relief of symptoms: the same is true for the other available medical protocols.
Stage IV mesothelioma is the last defined stage of this fatal form of cancer. The classification is used to described mesothelioma in its most advanced stage, when it can no longer be surgically removed and is evident in lymph nodes, organs, the spine, and other distant areas of the body. Physicians who are providing care for a patient who is in Stage IV are dedicated to providing pain relief and comfort, as well as providing them with the highest possible quality of life in their remaining days.
Symptoms of Stage IV Mesothelioma
Patients who are living with mesothelioma face many challenges and uncomfortable symptoms, but once they have reached Stage IV the most common symptom that they experience is severe pain. The source of this pain is the pressure that the mesothelioma tumors are putting on the body’s internal organs. For patient suffering from pleural mesothelioma, this pain generally starts with the lungs and the diaphragm, while for those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma the pain emanates from the abdominal organs. Their symptoms are exacerbated by blockages in their stomach and other organs that may make it difficult for them to swallow or digest their food.
When you add to either of these conditions the additional pain that comes from the other organs to which the cancerous tumors have metastasized, it is no wonder that mesothelioma doctors treating Stage IV mesothelioma patients work almost exclusively towards the goal of pain relief, removing cancerous bulk in order to relieve internal pressure and providing medications to ease discomfort.
Treatment of Stage IV Mesothelioma
When treating mesothelioma patients, doctors provide either curative treatments designed to provide extended survival, or palliative treatment focused on increasing comfort and alleviating pain. Many of the traditional medical treatments that are used to provide curative relief may be offered for a palliative goal. These include surgery to remove tumors, chemotherapy to reduce the size of tumors and radiation therapy which can reduce the size of tumors without subjecting the patient to as many debilitating side effects. Patients may also be offered treatments that remove excess fluid from the lungs and make it easier for them to breathe, as well as reducing pain.
One consideration that must be taken into account for mesothelioma patients who are in Stage IV is their rapidly declining strength. Because they are in such a weakened state, most of these patients are not offered invasive procedures such as surgery. The treatments that have proven to be most effective are those that provide patients with a way of managing their own pain and reducing their stress. This has included alternative treatments such as meditation, yoga, hypnosis, acupuncture, aromatherapy and improved nutrition.
Prognosis for Stage IV Mesothelioma Patients
Patients who are identified as being in Stage IV of mesothelioma are faced with the reality of an extremely short survival time. Though every patient is different and prognosis is determined in large part by factors such as will to live, age, overall health, gender and type of cancer, the median survival time for Stage IV mesothelioma patients is just six months from the time of diagnosis.
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.