Mesothelioma was not the diagnosis that you were expecting when you were struggling to breathe. You thought that you had a bad cold or pneumonia. As you had the diagnosis explained to you, you wondered how you could have ended up with this horrible condition.
Unfortunately, this is a very serious disease that needs treatment as soon as possible. Mesothelioma is usually caused by exposure to asbestos, which may have happened decades ago. Today, you’re only at Stage 1, which is a great sign that you caught the illness early.
Stage I mesothelioma
Stage I mesothelioma simply means that the cancer hasn’t yet spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. You can have either Stage IA or Stage IB. Stage IA is when the cancer is only on one side of the chest in the pleural lining of the lung. It may be in the pleural lining of the diaphragm, mediastinum or around the lung.
Stage IB is more serious, because it is found in all of those areas as well as in the diaphragm and lung. It may be found deep in the chest wall or in the fatty areas between the lungs. It may also be found around the heart.
The good news about Stage IA and IB is that both may still allow for the surgical removal of the cancer. In some cases, patients may be able to be essentially “cured,” though they may still need additional cancer treatments and to monitor for the return of the illness.
When you are given the cancer’s formal stage, you’ll have a better chance of identifying how to handle it moving forward. Your doctor may be able to prescribe you medications or to operate to help you breathe easier or to remove the cancer completely. Catching mesothelioma in this stage is rare, but doing so could mean having more options when it comes to removing the cancer or prolonging your life.
As a patient with mesothelioma, know that you may have a right to pursue compensation. If you were exposed to asbestos on the job or while you were doing construction, you may be able to pursue a claim against a past employer or other party who exposed you to the dangerous fibers. If you’d like to look into your options, you may want to reach out to an attorney specializing in mesothelioma and asbestos exposure.