Staging is a system that provides doctors with a common language for describing tumors. After cancer is first diagnosed, a series of tests are used to investigate the extent of the cancer and to see whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
Doctors use staging as a way of recording the size and growth of a cancer, and determining the plan for treatment. Mesothelioma is broadly staged into two categories: localized (the tumor is restricted to the membrane surface where it originated) and advanced (the tumor has spread to neighboring structures and distant organs and tissues).
By understanding the stage of your cancer, you and your care team can make informed decisions about your treatment.
When staging mesothelioma, doctors attempt to discover the following:
- The size of the tumor
- Whether the cancer has spread to nearby tissues
- Whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body