Saturday, December, 16, 2017

Mesothelioma Prognosis

Because each form of mesothelioma shares so many symptoms with many other sicknesses, it is often very difficult to diagnose and treat the cancer in its earliest stages. Having been previously exposed to asbestos is certainly an indicator, but a series of tests would be necessary to determine whether further initial treatment is necessary in the presence of multiple indicators. Once a physician determines that mesothelioma is present and malignant, a prognosis will be determined and a patient’s treatment options will be discussed.

As mesothelioma progresses and becomes evident only in the later stages, the prognosis is more than often poor at best, with the victim’s life expectancy typically at less than five years. Depending on the severity of the later stage symptoms, the physician will recommend the best options and lay out a blueprint of sort for the best interest of both the patient and the family. The key to treatment and a positive prognosis is detecting the cancer in its early stages, as mesothelioma becomes more difficult to treat in the later stages.

Mesothelioma is generally regarded in four stages of development, with stage one being the earliest and stage four being the most critical. In stage one of the cancer, the linings of the organs or chest have only become infected and have yet to spread significantly. Lymph nodes are also not yet affected during this stage. By stage two, the cancer has spread throughout the lining of the chest or organs and has begun to spread into the organs, possibly affecting the lymph nodes and surrounding areas of the body. The symptoms will worsen in stage two and this is generally the last chance to diagnose the disease and begin preventable recessive treatment.

By stage three, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes has damaged the organs or chest considerably. Life expectancy after stage three has set in is considerably short without serious treatment and therapy. During stage four, chances for survival are poor as the cancer has spread throughout the organs and/or chest, as well as the surrounding areas of the body. Surgery is not possible by this point and only radiation and chemotherapy can be employed as preventative measures, however even then the chances of survival are ultimately low.

While the stages determine the necessary severity of treatment, there are various other factors involved in the physician’s prognosis as well. The affected area, the size of the tumor, the type of mesothelioma – Pleural, Peritoneal, or Pericardium – and whether or not the tumor can be removed help determine whether or not surgery is an acceptable option. The extent of the symptoms, the spread of the cancer, and the build-up of fluids also play a factor is diagnosis, as does the patient’s age and history of health. Diagnosis is most common in people over the age of 55.

While statistics prove that the survival rate for mesothelioma victims is still very low (only 10 percent of diagnosed patients will live up to five years after prognosis), modern medicine and technology is making great advancements in treatment and giving hope that this deadly killer will someday be preventable.