Mesothelioma is a cancer that impacts the lining of organs like the heart, lungs and abdomen.
How Does Mesothelioma Spread?
Metastasis can happen at any stage of mesothelioma but is most profound in stage IV, when the cancer is most prolific and aggressive.
Metastasis is monitored and tracked using imaging from MRIs, PET and CT scans. Sometimes doctors won’t know that the cancer has spread until the patient begins to develop symptoms that are not consistent with their mesothelioma diagnosis.
When this happens, more testing must be done to determine the level of progression.
Typical Mesothelioma Metastasis Trends
Mesothelioma spreads through the body in many ways. When the cancer cells get into the bloodstream, they are on a highway to other parts of the body. Once these harmful cancer cells have made it to other parts of the body, they begin to develop tumors on other organs.
What Causes Metastasis?
There are several factors that may impact the likelihood of mesothelioma metastasis. These factors include the stage of the cancer at diagnosis, the cell type, and the treatment response.
The stage of mesothelioma is determined by a variety of factors including size and location of the tumors. Patients with lower stages of mesothelioma, like stage 1 or 2, are the least likely to experience metastasis and their cancer will remain in the lining of the lungs.
For patients with stage 3 or 4 mesothelioma, mesothelioma has metastasized because the cancer is much more aggressive. At these stages, mesothelioma has already begun spreading to vital organs, making treatment incredibly difficult if not impossible.
The type of cells that make up the tumor is also an indicator of likelihood of metastasis. Some cell types are more aggressive and spread more quickly than others that are more likely to stay put in their original area.
Finally, response to treatment is another indicator of metastasis. Typically, patients who responded well to treatment, especially when their cancer was caught early, are less likely to develop metastatic mesothelioma.
Surgery and radiation can target specific tumors. When this treatment is successful, these tumors tend to stop developing, and in turn, halt any threat of metastasis.
Treating Metastasized Mesothelioma
As with any illness, the sooner you catch the metastasized mesothelioma, the better your odds are when it comes to treatment. If you or a loved one start having any symptoms that don’t seem to be in congruence with your current diagnosis, it is important to see your doctor.
There are treatment options available even if your mesothelioma has spread, such as chemotherapy, surgery, and other treatments.