Mesothelioma is a kind of rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It is a disease that doesn’t manifest immediately on exposure to asbestos; it could take anywhere between 15 – 45 years before manifesting. Even though the use of asbestos has dropped over the years, many more people are still getting affected by the disease due to the prolonged period before manifesting.
More awareness needs to be created on mesothelioma, especially in the developing countries where most people are still very much ignorant of the health hazards of asbestos.
Mesothelioma consists of 4 stages; physicians usually use these stages to determine the seriousness of cancer and the best treatment option for those living with the disease. We shall be looking at the first stage of mesothelioma, the symptoms, and the treatment options.
This is the first stage of mesothelioma which affects the pleura of one of the lungs. It is the earliest stage of the disease, making it the easiest to treat in patients. Cancer has not advanced and spread to other parts of the body; only the pleura is affected.
Stage 1 Mesothelioma Symptoms
The following symptoms characterize this stage of mesothelioma:
- Chest pain
- Aches in the body
If not properly observed, these first-stage symptoms of mesothelioma may be mistaken for pneumonia since the symptoms are similar.
Mesothelioma can be diagnosed with CT scans and X-rays. Another method adopted by physicians is a surgical biopsy, which involves removing fluid and tissue from the tumor area for proper examination.
Stage 1 Mesothelioma Treatment
Since the stage 1 mesothelioma is the earliest and the least advanced among the four stages, patients with the first stage of mesothelioma are opened to different treatment options.
Some of the treatment options are:
Surgery – surgical interventions are usually used for stage 1 patients since they have a higher chance of survival, cancer hasn’t spread to other organs, and it is easier to remove.
Some of the surgical methods used are:
- Cytoreduction – this has to do with removing the peritoneum – which refers to the lining of the abdomen. Stage 1 patients with the peritoneal type of mesothelioma usually undergo this kind of surgical operation to curb any growth of tumors that may likely occur in the future.
- Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP) – the EPP removes the affected organs such as the pleura and some parts within the diaphragm. The EPP is usually used on patients who have the pleura type of mesothelioma.
- Pleurectomy with Decortication – patients who have stage 1 mesothelioma usually undergo this type of surgery, which involves completely removing the pleura to extract the cancerous tumor present.
After these surgical interventions are completely carried out, radiation and chemotherapy are also used to ensure that all cancer cells that may be remaining are killed and eliminated.
In conclusion, stage 1 mesothelioma is the least advanced stage, which can be easily treated before spreading to other parts of the body.