At VanNess & VanNess, P.A., our goal is to use our nationwide experience and local knowledge to be a resource for our central Florida clients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. This is a tragic disease caused by asbestos exposure and has caused untold damage to millions of Americans.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, one of our lawyers can help you find the right treatment options and surgical procedures. In addition, we can help you assert your legal rights against the companies that allowed you to be exposed to this disease.

Mesothelioma Staging

Medical experts use a variety of methods to determine the degree to which mesothelioma has advanced in a patient and spread through other parts of the body, including X-rays, CT scans and MRI scans. Pleural mesothelioma is the only type for which staging classification exists.

Historically, the Butchart System has been the standard staging method for most cancers, including mesothelioma, but the TNM staging system is gaining popularity by major cancer centers as a more accurate method for specifically evaluating mesothelioma.

The Butchart Staging System

The Butchart Staging System divides mesothelioma into stages I through IV based on the extent of the primary tumor mass.

Stage I: Mesothelioma is present within the right or left pleura. At this stage, it may also involve the lung, pericardium or diaphragm on the same side.Stage III: Mesothelioma has penetrated the lining of the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum). At this stage, the lymph nodes beyond those in the chest may also be impacted.
Stage II: Mesothelioma has invaded the esophagus or the chest wall, heart, or the pleura on the other side. The lymph nodes in the chest may also be involved.Stage IV: Mesothelioma has advanced through the bloodstream to other organs of the body. There is evidence of distant metastases (spread through the bloodstream to other organs).

TNM Staging System

The TNM staging system is similar to staging systems used for most other cancers. Developed by the International Mesothelioma Interest Group, this system more accurately describes the extent to which a tumor has advanced. Major cancer centers are beginning to use this system, and it has been adopted by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC).

Stage I. Mesothelioma is in either the right or left pleura, and has only spread to the outer lining of the lung in a few spots, at most, and has not spread to the lymph nodes.Stage III: Mesothelioma has spread into 1) the first layer of the chest wall; 2) the fatty part of the mediastinum; 3) a single place in the chest wall; 4) the outer covering layer of the heart; or 5) lymph nodes anywhere in the same side of the chest.
Stage II: Mesothelioma has spread into the outer lining of the lung, the diaphragm or the lung itself.Stage IV: Mesothelioma has spread 1) into the chest wall; 2) through the diaphragm; 3) into any organ contained in the mediastinum (esophagus, trachea, thymus, blood vessels); 4) into the spine; 5) across to the pleura on the other side of the chest; 6) through the heart lining or into the heart itself; 7) into the brachial plexus (nerves leading to the arm); 8) into lymph nodes outside that side of the chest; or 9) spread to other organs through the bloodstream.

The Brigham System

The most recent mesothelioma staging system, the Brigham System, stages mesothelioma according to two factors: the ability to remove the tumor and lymph node involvement.

Stage I: The mesothelioma tumor is surgically removable and has not been spread to the lymph nodes.Stage III: Because the tumor extends into the chest wall, to the heart or through the diaphragm into the peritoneum (abdominal lining) in stage III, it is not surgically removable. Lymph nodes outside the chest may or may not have disease in them.
Stage II: Although the tumor is still removable through surgery at this point, stage II involves lymph node disease.Stage IV: In Stage IV, the disease has spread to other parts of the body.

Contact A Central Florida Mesothelioma Lawyer

At VanNess & VanNess, P.A., we have the resources to help you through all aspects of mesothelioma. Call 352-436-4333 (866-697-6221 toll free) or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an attorney.