Pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that grows in
the outer lining of the lungs and is associated with
exposure to asbestos earlier in life. This exposure
could come from old buildings, factories, and from
Asbestos particles effect more than just those that
mine or work with it. It also can come home with them
and be inhaled by family members and even people at a
business close to a mine or factory. Pleural
mesothelioma is categorized in four distinct stages.
The most common system to determine the stage
mesothelioma is in is called the International
Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) system and is based
on the TNM system used in other types of cancer.
Stage one is when the cancer is beginning to affect
the outer layers of the lung or chest wall on one side
and may be on the diaphragm. This only applies when
the mesothelioma is on one side of the chest.
Stage two is when the mesothelioma is in both the
inner and outer layers of the lung and a tumor has
started to grow.
In stage three it may have spread to the chest wall or
possibly the pericardium or the sac that covers the
heart and its main arteries and blood vessels. It
could also be spread to the lymph nodes as well.
Stage four is when the tumor has grown too large to be
successfully removed with traditional surgical
methods. It could have spread to other organs, lymph
nodes on both sides of the chest, or above the
Each stage has a variety of treatment options