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Learn the stages of mesothelioma

Nobody likes to contemplate their own mortality, but for many, knowledge is power. Following is some information on the four stages of malignant mesothelioma.

-- Stage I-A is localized in a single side of the chest wall lining. It can also develop in the chest cavity lining between the patient's lungs or in the lining covering the diaphragm. At this stage, the cancer hasn't spread to the covering of the lung.

-- Stage I-B means that cancerous cells are in a single side of the chest wall lining as well as in the lining covering the lung. It can also be growing in the chest cavity lining between the lungs or in the lining over the diaphragm.

-- Stage II mesothelioma has advanced and is located in the areas described above as well as in the diaphragm and/or lung tissue.

-- Stage III means that either the cancer is found in the chest lining, and potentially spread to the adjacent linings. In addition, it may be present in the lymph nodes of the upper trunk; or in the tissues between the ribs and chest wall lining, fat between the lungs, soft tissue of chest wall or pericardium. Malignant cells might also be present in the lymph nodes of the upper body trunk.

-- Stage IV mesothelioma means that cancer is found bilaterally in the body and can't be removed via surgery. Cancer cells might have spread through the lymphatic system to other areas in the chest or above the clavicle. It can spread into distant spots like the prostate, brain, thyroid or abdominal organs. Sometimes it begins to grow in the spine, ribs or even the heart.

Filing a claim for asbestos exposure will not add years to your life, sadly. However, doing so may allow you to live out your life without worrying about financial stresses and allow you to provide for your survivors.

Source: National Cancer Institute, "Stages of Malignant Mesothelioma," accessed Jan. 07, 2016

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