Stages of Mesothelioma - Severity
Upon confirmation of a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, the next step is evaluating the stage of the disease. Physicians may conduct imaging studies, such as CT (computed topography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans to assess the progression and appropriate treatment. The four stages of mesothelioma are as follows:
The tumor is found in the pleura with or without some involvement of the lung, pericardium (lining of the heart) or diaphragm.
The tumor is found in a stage I location, plus there is involvement of some lymph nodes in the chest.
The tumor has extended into the chest wall, ribs or heart, through the diaphragm or into the peritoneum (the abdominal lining). There also may be involvement of the lymph nodes.
The tumor has spread through the bloodstream to distant sites (it has metastasized).
Causes of Mesothelioma Asbestos Cancer
The primary cause of mesothelioma is exposure to Chrysotile asbestos fibers. These are the most common asbestos fibers, followed by amosite and crocidolite. Chrysotile asbestos makes up for about 95% of the asbestos produced in the United States, and is commonly referred to as white asbestos. Individuals commonly exposed to this form include those who worked in asbestos mines, mills, and factories, as well as insulation factories and shipyards. Any exposure to asbestos can potentially increase future risk of mesothelioma.