Mesothelioma Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosing & Staging Mesothelioma 

Mercy’s cancer specialists offer the latest tools for diagnosing and staging mesothelioma. A mesothelioma diagnosis may involve several tests including diagnostic imaging, blood tests and a biopsy.

Biopsies

Biopsies are the only way to determine whether you have developed mesothelioma. Depending on what area of your body is affected, your Mercy doctor will either take your biopsy by inserting a needle through your skin or by collecting a sample of tissue during surgery.

Imaging Tests

Once your mesothelioma is confirmed, additional imaging tests such as CT, MRI or PET scans may be recommended to determine the extent of cancer.

Pleural Mesothelioma Stages

Your Mercy doctor will use the results of your diagnosis to assign your diagnosis to a stage. This will help determine which treatment(s) fits your needs, as well as which treatment(s) will provide the best outcome for you. Pleural mesothelioma grows and spreads with four distinct stages. Formal stages aren't available for other types of mesothelioma right now.

Pleural Mesothelioma Stage I

If a patient has been diagnosed with stage I mesothelioma, cancer will be localized to one area of the body. Patients diagnosed with stage I generally have the most treatment options available to them and have the highest life expectancy rates.

Pleural Mesothelioma Stage II

If a patient has been diagnosed with stage II mesothelioma, there will be indicators that cancer has metastasized (or spread) to lymph nodes nearby. A handful of effective treatment options are still available to most patients at this stage.

Pleural Mesothelioma Stage III

If a patient has been diagnosed with stage III mesothelioma, it means cancer has metastasized to the lymph nodes and other nearby organs. With a stage III diagnosis, treatment options for patients become much more limited.

Pleural Mesothelioma Stage IV

If a patient has been diagnosed with stage IV mesothelioma, cancer has now spread completely to the other side of the body. Surgery is not an option with a stage IV diagnosis, but patients can potentially improve their quality of life with potent palliative treatments.

Mesothelioma Treatment Options

At Mercy, we don’t just care for you, we care about you. We understand that for many people with mesothelioma, treatment options are limited. Even though we can’t always offer a cure, our team of cancer specialists can provide care and support to ease your symptoms. We’ll help you understand your condition and your options for battling it.

Mesothelioma Surgery

There are several common types of lung cancer surgeries performed on patients which include wedge resection, sleeve resection, lobectomy and pneumonectomy. Minimally invasive robotic surgery may be used to assist your Mercy surgeon during your selected procedure. Unlike a human hand, the robotic “wrists” of the device allow them to maintain greater surgical precision, increased range of motion and other benefits.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy form of treatment places radioactive material inside your body within or beside your tumor. Advantages of radiotherapy include fewer treatment sessions and higher dosages of radiation.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is used to treat mesothelioma by controlling tumor growth and reducing symptoms. Chemo uses a range of different drugs, usually delivered through the vein, to kill mesothelioma cancer cells, as well as to stop them from growing and dividing. 

Immunotherapy

Cancer cells grow and develop within your immune system largely due to their ability to evade the immune system altogether. This new type of drug treatment uses special medications to recruit your immune system to attack mesothelioma once it recognizes its presence within your body.

Targeted Therapy

Most drugs used during chemotherapy can’t tell the difference between cancer cells and healthy cells which can lead to unwelcome side effects such as nausea, hair loss and memory problems. Targeted therapy uses drugs that aim for specific areas inside cancer cells, leaving your healthy cells alone.

Mesothelioma Information

At Mercy, our goal isn’t only to help you treat mesothelioma, but also to prevent your cancer from coming back. Mercy provides dedicated teams that will provide comprehensive and coordinated care to cancer patients.