Stage 4 Mesothelioma-Salient Points For You To know

By the time mesothelioma has reached Stage 4 classification, the tumor has advanced and spread to different sites far away from the primary location. Most times mesothelioma spreads to vital organs like the brain, other areas in the chest cavity and into vital organs situated in the abdominal cavity.

The TNM System

The TNM system categorizes cancer based on three factors:1} the size of the tumor, 2}whether the cancer has spread from its point of origin to nearby lymph nodes, and 3}whether the cancer has metastasized. This system may be used to stage pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. The T stands for the size of the tumor, the N stands for the extent of lymph node involvement, and the M for the extent of distant metastases. This is the commonest staging system used for most cancers.

The Butchart System

The Butchart System categorizes the different stages of the cancer based mainly on the size and spread of the primary tumor. This system has four stages. In Stage 4 of the Butchart system, mesothelioma has metastasized, spreading through the bloodstream to organs and tissues that are distant from the primary tumor site.

The Brigham System

The Brigham system is a relatively new system of staging mesothelioma. This system classify mesothelioma into different stages based on whether or not tumors can be removed via surgery {resectability of the tumor mass}, and whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. The Brigham system includes four stages. In Stage 4 of the Brigham system, mesothelioma is inoperable due to the large size of tumors and it has penetrated into vital organs. In addition, mesothelioma has metastasized to other locations, meaning cancer is more than likely to recur even if primary tumors are removed.

How is Stage 4 Mesothelioma Treated?

Patients with stage 4 have few treatment options. With Stage 4 mesothelioma, the prognosis is generally very poor due to the spread of cancer to multiple locations. Additionally, primary tumors have often penetrated too deeply into organs and tissues to be removed. The general health of stage 4 patients would have also declined to a level where the patient is too weak to withstand the physical stress of surgery.

Stage 4 treatments are therefore limited to palliative treatments that are used to relieve symptoms of the disease. These may include procedures such as thoracentesis or paracentesis, where built-up fluid is removed from the lungs or abdomen to relieve pain and pressure on internal organs. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy may also be used to shrink tumors to provide symptomatic relief. As these treatments often have serious side effects, patients should carefully consider whether or not they wish to endure such treatments at this final stage.

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