Stage 1 Mesothelioma

Stage 1 mesothelioma is the first stage of this rare, aggressive cancer. At this stage, the cancer is typically found only in and around the lining of the lungs (pleura). Stage 1 patients typically have mild to no symptoms. Stage 1 mesothelioma has the best prognosis since there are many treatment options available for patients. Learn how Lung Cancer Group can help you find mesothelioma treatment today.

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What Is Stage 1 Mesothelioma Cancer?

Stage 1 mesothelioma is the earliest of four malignant mesothelioma stages and is the most treatable stage.

During stage 1, mesothelioma cancer cells have formed in the pleura on one side of the chest. Patients typically have very few — if any — symptoms in this stage.

Did You Know?

Pleural mesothelioma is the only type of this cancer that can be classified into one of four stages. The other types, including peritoneal mesothelioma, are informally staged as “localized” or “advanced”.

Because the cancer is in its earliest stage, mesothelioma specialists can often effectively treat it with surgery, chemotherapy, and other options. As a result, stage 1 patients typically live longer than those diagnosed in later stages.

Our mesothelioma nurses and patient advocates can help you find top doctors and treatments for any stage of mesothelioma. Connect with a nurse now to get started.

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Mesothelioma Patients

Substages of Mesothelioma Stage 1

There are two substages of stage 1 malignant pleural mesothelioma: stage 1A and stage 1B. Which stage a patient will have depends on how far the cancer has spread at the time of diagnosis.

Stage 1A Mesothelioma

Doctor showing X-rays to a senior coupleIn cases of stage 1A mesothelioma, the cancer is in part of the pleura that covers the chest wall.

It may have also reached parts of the pleura covering the lungs, mediastinum (chest space) or diaphragm (organ that helps with breathing).

Further, it may have started to spread into the lungs or diaphragm, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Stage 1B Mesothelioma

Stage 1B mesothelioma represents a slight progression from stage 1A.

The cancer is already spread throughout the pleura, reaching the parts of it that cover the diaphragm, mediastinum, and lung.

It may have also spread into:

  • Layers of the chest wall
  • The pericardium (heart lining)
  • Tissues of the mediastinum

Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma Stage 1

Symptoms of stage 1 mesothelioma typically appear 10-50 years after someone is first exposed to asbestos, the only known cause of this cancer.

Stage 1 mesothelioma symptoms and early signs to watch for include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Moderate shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Pleural effusion (fluid buildup in chest)

Many patients won’t experience any stage 1 mesothelioma symptoms. This is because the cancer tumors aren’t big or widespread, so they may not cause any discomfort.

Make sure to see a doctor if you were ever exposed to asbestos and are now suffering from any of these symptoms — particularly a pleural effusion. A 2022 Pathology International report noted that pleural effusions were the first symptom in over 80% of pleural mesothelioma cases.

Diagnosing Stage 1 Mesothelioma

Oncologists (cancer doctors) must use a couple of different tests to diagnose any stage of mesothelioma, including stage 1.

Tests to diagnose stage 1 mesothelioma include:

  1. A basic medical exam to check for symptoms and asbestos exposure history
  2. Imaging tests (X-rays, CT scans, PET scans) of the chest to look for abnormalities
  3. Blood tests to look for biomarkers (substances that could mean you have cancer)
  4. A biopsy, where a fluid/tissue sample is removed and checked for mesothelioma cells
Did You Know?

Since patients have little to no symptoms, stage 1 mesothelioma cases may be diagnosed when doctors are looking for another health problem.

After confirming the diagnosis with a biopsy, doctors use the Tumor-Node-Metastasis (TNM) staging system to see which stage a patient’s cancer is in.

The TNM staging system looks at where the tumors are and if they’ve reached nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

Lung Cancer Group can help you or a loved one find top doctors, treatments, and financial compensation after a stage 1 mesothelioma diagnosis. Connect with our mesothelioma nurses now to get started.

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Amy Fair
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Stage 1 Mesothelioma Prognosis

Stage 1 mesothelioma has the best prognosis (health outlook) compared to the other stages, since the cancer is easier to treat.

Prognosis is measured with two figures: life expectancies (average amount of time someone lives after diagnosis) and survival rates (percent of patients still alive after a set period of time).

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy Stage 1

The average life expectancy for stage 1 mesothelioma patients is 21 months (almost 2 years), according to a Frontiers in Oncology report.

Further, it may be possible to live even longer depending on the treatments you receive.

Stage 1 Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Stage 1 mesothelioma patients had a 5-year survival rate of 11% when treated with surgery, according to a 2023 review of data from the National Cancer Database (NCDB).

But, you may be able to outlive the average survival rate and become a long-term survivor — it depends on how your body responds to treatments, your overall health, and other factors.

Top Treatments for Mesothelioma Stage 1

Stage 1 patients typically have the most mesothelioma treatment options available. These include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy.

Doctors often use multiple treatments together (multimodal therapy) to remove or destroy as much of the cancer as possible and help stage 1 mesothelioma patients live longer.

Learn about the different mesothelioma treatments below.

Mesothelioma Surgery

Surgery is often one of the most effective treatment options for mesothelioma stage 1. Doctors remove all of the mesothelioma tumors they can see, which can significantly slow the cancer’s spread.

There are two main stage 1 pleural mesothelioma surgeries:

  • Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP): During an EPP, the surgeon removes the lung nearest to the cancer, the lung lining, part of the diaphragm, and the heart lining (pericardium).
  • Pleurectomy/Decortication (P/D): This surgery aims to remove the cancerous lung lining and any visible tumors while preserving the lung. It’s less intensive than an EPP since both lungs are spared but still effective.

The 2023 NCDB data review found that stage 1 mesothelioma patients have an average life expectancy of 19.2 months when surgery is used.

Our mesothelioma nurses can help you find top stage 1 mesothelioma treatments, including surgeries that you qualify for. Connect with a nurse now.


Chemotherapy is often an important part of a stage 1 mesothelioma treatment plan. It uses powerful drugs to target and kill cancer cells and is often used in tandem with surgery.

Stage 1 pleural mesothelioma patients lived for 15.5 months on average when treated with chemotherapy and surgery, according to the 2023 review of NCDB data.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, uses high-energy X-rays or other particles to damage the DNA of cancer cells, preventing them from growing and dividing.

Traditional therapy can also shrink tumors before surgery. Further, it can be used as palliative (pain-relieving) care to help patients manage symptoms.

The 2023 review of NCDB data found that stage 1 patients had an average life expectancy of 23.8 months when they received radiotherapy.


Immunotherapy stimulates the patient’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells more effectively. It was approved to treat pleural mesothelioma after showing success in clinical trials.

Stage 1 pleural mesothelioma patients lived for over 17 months on average after undergoing immunotherapy, according to the 2023 NCDB review.

If you have stage 1 mesothelioma, speak to a mesothelioma nurse to find out which treatments will be most effective for you.

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  • Answer Medical Questions
Talk with Amy

Amy Fair
20+ Years Helping
Mesothelioma Patients

How to Improve Your Mesothelioma Stage 1 Health Outlook

You must address a stage 1 mesothelioma diagnosis promptly if you want to live as long as possible.

You may be able to improve your health outlook by:

  • Seeking medical care right away if you were ever exposed to asbestos and are experiencing any unusual symptoms
  • Getting a second opinion to gain a broader perspective on your treatment plan and make the best choices for your case
  • Working closely with mesothelioma doctors to explore and understand your treatment options
  • Learning about new and emerging treatments that could offer novel approaches to improve your health outcome
  • Maintaining regular follow-up appointments with your health care team to monitor your progress, manage symptoms, and address any side effects of treatments
  • Joining mesothelioma support groups to access valuable information and gain the emotional support you need
  • Taking care of your health in other ways, such as managing pain and stress, getting proper nutrients, or leading an active lifestyle

Lung Cancer Group Can Help Stage 1 Mesothelioma Patients

Lung Cancer Group is here to walk you through every step of your cancer journey after a mesothelioma stage 1 diagnosis.

Though having stage 1 mesothelioma can be stressful and scary, we’ll do all we can to assist you and your family.

Our patient advocates and mesothelioma nurses can help you:

  1. Explore treatment options that best suit your case
  2. Find top doctors and hospitals near you
  3. Pursue compensation to cover any expenses
  4. Access other key resources, such as support groups

Connect with our mesothelioma nurses right now or call (877) 446-5767 to find out your eligibility. Our team is standing by to help you in any way we can.

Stage 1 Mesothelioma FAQs

Can you survive stage 1 mesothelioma?

Yes, it may be possible for you to live for many years with stage 1 mesothelioma, depending on how your cancer responds to the treatments you receive.

Though it’s rare, some mesothelioma patients have lived for 15 years or more with the right medical care.

Further, stage 1 mesothelioma patients have the best chances of living longer since they have more aggressive treatment options available than those in advanced stages.

Yes, early-stage mesothelioma is very treatable, giving patients a better prognosis.

For example, stage 1 mesothelioma hasn’t spread very far past the lung lining, so doctors can typically remove all visible cancer tumors from your body using surgeries or other cancer treatments.

Our nurses can help find the best stage 1 mesothelioma treatments for your case. Call (877) 446-5767 right now to get started.

Patients with stage 1 mesothelioma typically live for 21 months. However, how long you’ll live depends on many factors, including the treatments you receive, your general health outside of having cancer, and more.

It may be possible for you to live 5, 10, or even 15 years or more after you’re first diagnosed with stage 1 mesothelioma.

You may possibly achieve remission after getting treated for stage 1 mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma remission refers to a period during which the signs of cancer are either totally or partially gone, and the cancer is not spreading or has slowed its progression.

Getting prompt medical treatment gives you the best chance of achieving remission.

Lung Cancer Group was established by a team of caring advocates so those with lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases can get the help they deserve. Our site provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about lung cancer, its link to asbestos, and financial compensation available to patients. Contact us to learn more and get assistance.

  1. American Cancer Society. (2018, November 18). Malignant Mesothelioma Stages. Retrieved November 21, 2023, from
  2. American Cancer Society. (2023, March 2). Survival Rates for Malignant Mesothelioma. Retrieved November 21, 2023, from
  3. American Society of Clinical Oncology. (2020, September). Mesothelioma: Stages. Retrieved November 21, 2023, from
  4. Bou-Samra, P., et al. (2023, April 16). Epidemiological, therapeutic, and survival trends in malignant pleural mesothelioma: A review of the National Cancer Database. Cancer Medicine. Retrieved November 21, 2023, from
  5. Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. (n.d.). Mesothelioma Staging and Outcomes. Retrieved November 21, 2023, from
  6. Nabeshima, K., et al. (2022, May 21). Update of pathological diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma using genomic-based morphological techniques, for both histological and cytological investigations. Pathology International Retrieved November 21, 2023, from
  7. National Cancer Institute. (2021). Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment–Patient Version. Retrieved November 21, 2023, from
  8. Penn Medicine Abramson Cancer Center. (n.d.). Prognosis. Retrieved November 21, 2023, from
  9. National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Mesothelioma SEER Relative Survival Rates by Time Since Diagnosis, 2000-2019
    By Sex, All Races / Ethnicities, All Ages, Localized. Retrieved November 21, 2023, from =1&advopt_show_ci=on&hdn_view=0&advopt_show_apc=on&advopt_display=2.
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