Stage 1 mesothelioma is curable in some cases. However, while stage 1 mesothelioma has the best prognosis of all stages, the American Cancer Society reports that patients only have a 20 percent chance of surviving five years with localized, or stage 1, mesothelioma.
Definition of Cure
According to the National Cancer Institute, if a person diagnosed with cancer (such as mesothelioma) remains in complete remission for five or more years, the medical community considers them “cured.” Many cured cancer patients might have cancer cells in their bodies that could grow and spread in the future. However, many oncologists believe that most cancers with the potential to return will do so within the first five years following treatments such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
The medical community disagrees regarding the definitions of cure concerning cancer. Still, all agree that if a patient shows no signs of cancer after five years, the risk of developing cancer becomes significantly reduced.
Diagnosis of Stage 1 Mesothelioma
Stage 1 mesothelioma means that cancer cells are in the earliest stages of development. However, many cases of mesothelioma escape detection at stage 1 because few to no symptoms exhibit at this stage of cancer. However, if a patient does receive a diagnosis of stage 1 mesothelioma, they can feel much more fortunate than other mesothelioma patients who have more severe forms of this aggressive cancer. Stage 1 mesothelioma means that the cancer cells remain localized and contained in one specific area of the body.
Pleural mesothelioma, which occurs in the lining of the lungs, accounts for about three-fourths of all mesothelioma cases. However, mesothelioma might also occur in the peritoneal area (lining of the abdomen), pericardial area (lining of the heart), or the lining of the testicles.
The surgical options for stage 1 pleural mesothelioma include removing the tumor either through pleurectomy (removing the lining but leaving the lung and diaphragm muscle) or a more invasive extrapleural pneumonectomy (removal of the lung, diaphragm, pleural lining, and nearby lymph nodes). Visit with your medical professional regarding which treatment would best address your specific situation.
Radiation and Chemotherapy
Following surgery, a patient with stage 1 mesothelioma may receive radiation and chemotherapy treatment. A patient could also receive radiation prior to surgery to reduce the size of the cancerous tumor. Depending on your unique circumstances, overall general health, and the size of the tumor, your doctor will make a recommendation regarding whether radiation and chemotherapy make sense for your situation.
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Prognosis for Stage 1 Mesothelioma Patients
While stage 1 mesothelioma has the best prognosis of all mesothelioma stages, the overall medical opinion is that stage 1 mesothelioma is often not curable. In some cases, the prognosis is poor even at stage 1.
According to the journal Lung Cancer International, life expectancy from the diagnosis date of patients with stage 1 (localized) mesothelioma ranges from two to six years. However, every patient is different—some patients live decades after developing mesothelioma. Younger patients tend to live longer than older patients, and the overall health of a patient will largely determine the outcome and prognosis for life expectancy after developing stage 1 mesothelioma.
Additionally, epithelioid mesothelioma patients tend to have a better prognosis because epithelial cells do not spread as quickly to other areas of the body.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor Regarding Stage 1 Mesothelioma
Asking the right questions at the beginning stages after receiving your stage 1 mesothelioma diagnosis is critical to having a full understanding of your medical condition and treatment options. Consider asking your doctor the following questions:
- How do you know that my mesothelioma is stage 1?
- Why do you believe that my mesothelioma has not spread to other areas of my body?
- Do you know whether my cells are epithelioid, sarcomatoid, or biphasic (a combination of both)?
- Will I need radiation prior to surgery?
- Do you believe you will be able to remove the entire tumor during surgery?
- After surgery, will I need radiation and chemotherapy?
- Are there other treatment options available for stage 1 mesothelioma, including immunotherapy or clinical trials?
- Do you know of any holistic treatments that could help?
- Do you recommend any specific diet or nutrition schedule?
- How many times have you performed this type of surgery?
- What is your success rate with surgery?
- What will the aftereffects of surgery be?
- What can I expect regarding the quality of my life following the surgery?
- How will the follow-up process work?
- How often will I need to come in to receive diagnostic testing to determine whether my cancer is in remission or has grown or spread?
- What do we do if cancer returns?
- What is the five-year relative survival rate for my cancer?
- Do you mind if I get a second opinion?
Learn How a Mesothelioma Lawyer Can Help You
If you received a diagnosis of stage 1 mesothelioma, you might have a right to receive compensation for your injuries and losses, especially if you had significant exposure to asbestos. Consider contacting the legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 217-6099 to learn how a mesothelioma lawyer can protect your legal rights and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.