What Is Stage 3 Mesothelioma?
Stage 3 mesothelioma is considered an advanced stage of this aggressive cancer when it begins to spread throughout the chest and to the heart or abdomen. Symptoms at this stage may become more uncomfortable.
Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs, is the one type of mesothelioma that uses the Tumor-Node-Metastasis system to stage the cancer. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the abdomen, does not use the TNM staging system and is staged as “localized” or “advanced.”
While stage 3 is one of the more advanced stages of mesothelioma, the prognosis can vary among patients, depending on what cancer treatments they may be eligible for.
For example, surgery may be limited or avoided during this stage because of the extent of tumor growth to nearby parts of the body. In many cases, surgery becomes less curative and more focused on symptom relief.
- Life expectancy: Nearly 19 months with surgery
- Spread: Regional spread from the affected area to close tissues, organs, and nearby lymph nodes, not yet to distant parts of the body
- Symptoms: Chest pain and shortness of breath
- Treatments: Patients may or may not be eligible for surgery but will still be able to receive chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and more
Help is available for stage 3 mesothelioma patients. Lung Cancer Group’s on-staff nurses are prepared to connect you with top mesothelioma doctors and treatment options. Contact a nurse now.
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Substages of Mesothelioma Stage 3
Stage 3 mesothelioma can be broken down into 2 substages.
The substages of mesothelioma stage 3 are:
- Stage 3A: This substage is still treatable with surgery. The cancer cells have spread to other parts of the chest wall, like the diaphragm, pericardium (lining of the heart), or deeper lung tissue, but the cancer is still on one side of the body, the side closest to the affected lung.
- Stage 3B: Mesothelioma cancer cells have grown throughout the chest space making it too difficult to remove with surgery. In this substage, the cancer has reached muscles or tissue around the ribs, peritoneum (abdominal lining), and pericardium and is no longer localized to one side of the chest.
These substages allow doctors to assess the extent, severity, and spread of the disease while also determining what treatments will be best for the patient.
Stage 3 Mesothelioma Symptoms
By stage 3, symptoms of mesothelioma may start to become more noticeable or disruptive.
Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma stage 3 include:
- Coughing up blood
- Fluid buildup in the lining of the lungs (pleural effusion)
- Pain that radiates from the chest to the back
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
If you notice any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor immediately to begin diagnostic testing.
Diagnosing Mesothelioma at Stage 3
Getting an accurate mesothelioma diagnosis allows patients to access the correct treatments that may help relieve symptoms and prolong their lives. It is more common for mesothelioma to be diagnosed in advanced stages (later stages) 3 or 4.
To diagnose mesothelioma, doctors will need to perform the following tests:
- A physical exam to discuss medical history and current symptoms. Patients should mention any history of asbestos exposure during this appointment.
- Blood tests to rule out other conditions and look for any signs of cancer.
- Imaging tests like chest X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans to identify any abnormal tissue or fluid buildup.
- A biopsy to take a fluid or tissue sample, which will be examined closely in the lab.
It can take months to get a confirmed mesothelioma diagnosis. Some patients may get misdiagnosed with less serious conditions, which could cause a delay in treatment.
To get help finding a trusted mesothelioma specialist who can help you get an accurate diagnosis, contact one of our on-staff nurses today.
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Stage 3 Mesothelioma Prognosis
A mesothelioma prognosis helps patients understand what to expect after their diagnosis. It varies for every patient depending on several factors.
These factors include:
- Age: Younger patients can often endure more aggressive treatment options than older patients.
- Health and lifestyle: Patients with good overall health, who do not smoke, and have no other chronic conditions may be able to recover from treatments well and experience longer survival.
- Mesothelioma cell type: Mesothelioma tumors are made up of different cell types. Tumors with primarily epithelioid cells, the most common cell type, generally respond better to treatment and have a more favorable prognosis compared to sarcomatoid tumors.
Included in a mesothelioma prognosis is a patient’s life expectancy and survival rate.
Stage 3 Mesothelioma Life Expectancy
This estimate for patients with stage 3 mesothelioma can vary. A 2023 review of the National Cancer Database (NCDB) found the average life expectancy for stage 3 mesothelioma is nearly 19 months, which is still fairly similar to early-stage mesothelioma.
Remember that life expectancy is only an estimate and some patients have survived for longer with cancer treatment.
Survival Rate for Mesothelioma Stage 3
Survival rate is the likelihood that a patient will survive beyond a certain time frame.
For stage 3 mesothelioma, the 5-year survival rate is 13%, according to data from the NCDB. This means that 13% of patients are still alive 5 years after their diagnosis.
It’s important to remember that these numbers are only estimates, and some patients live fairly normal lives thanks to innovative treatments.
Can Stage 3 Mesothelioma Go Into Remission?
Yes, although it is rare, some patients can achieve remission or be considered “progression-free,” even with late-stage mesothelioma.
This doesn’t mean that the patient is cured, but that the cancer is not growing or progressing in a life-threatening way.
Some pleural mesothelioma patients diagnosed in more advanced stages have survived for several years, thanks to treatment advances. For example, John Panza Jr. was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma stage 3 but has continued to fight for over 10 years.
Taking a comprehensive treatment approach is vital to improve your mesothelioma survival chances. These treatments target the disease from multiple angles, increasing the chances of symptom relief and disease control.
Contact our nurses now to see how we can help you find the best treatment for you.
Top Treatments for Stage 3 Mesothelioma
Treating stage 3 mesothelioma requires a multimodal approach, meaning multiple types of treatments are combined for the best outcome. Learn about some of the top mesothelioma treatments for stage 3 mesothelioma.
Surgery at stage 3 can be challenging because of the spread of the tumor to other vital parts of the body.
However, there are surgeries that patients may still be eligible for, such as:
- Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP): An EPP involves the removal of the entire lung affected by mesothelioma, the pleura (lining of the lungs), parts of the diaphragm, and the pericardium (lining of the heart). An EPP may provide more substantial tumor reduction for patients who are good candidates for this procedure.
- Pleurectomy/decortication (P/D): A P/D involves the removal of the pleura and any visible tumors on the lung surface. This procedure aims to ease symptoms and improve lung function. It is less extensive than an EPP, allowing more patients to withstand this surgery.
Chemotherapy drugs can help combat cancer cells throughout the body. For stage 3 mesothelioma, chemotherapy can help reduce the size of tumors and slow the spread of cancer cells.
It is often combined with other treatments like surgery and immunotherapy to improve survival time.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to target and shrink tumors. In stage 3, it can help relieve pain and discomfort associated with mesothelioma and may be used in combination with other treatments to improve treatment outcomes.
Immunotherapy boosts the body’s immune system so it can better target and attack cancer cells. Over the last few years, immunotherapy has proven to be successful in managing mesothelioma, even for those who are not good candidates for surgery in stage 3.
Clinical trials test novel therapies and approaches to improve mesothelioma treatment and offer hope for patients with stage 3 mesothelioma.
While not all patients may be eligible, these approaches can provide access to cutting-edge treatments that may have the potential to improve survival rates and enhance quality of life.
How Can You Improve Your Health Outcome for Mesothelioma Stage 3?
The best way to improve your prognosis and chances of survival with stage 3 mesothelioma is to receive treatment. Additionally, taking a comprehensive approach that encompasses medical treatment, lifestyle changes, and emotional support can help you feel hopeful.
Some ways to improve health outcomes throughout treatment include:
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management.
- Discuss treatment options, ask questions, and seek second opinions to receive the most appropriate care for your specific condition.
- Maintain a strong support network of friends and family who can provide emotional support during your treatment journey, and consider joining support groups.
- Participate in clinical trials to gain access to innovative therapies and treatment approaches.
- Quit smoking, as smoking can worsen the prognosis for mesothelioma patients.
- Seek medical care from experienced mesothelioma specialists and medical centers that are well-versed in treating this rare disease.
- Stay informed about the latest advancements in mesothelioma treatment.
- Take advantage of palliative care and alternative therapies to manage symptoms, reduce pain, and enhance your comfort.
- Work closely with your medical team to develop a personalized treatment plan.
Find Help for a Mesothelioma Stage 3 Diagnosis
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with stage 3 mesothelioma, you’re not alone. At the Lung Cancer Group, we understand how challenging a mesothelioma diagnosis can be and the emotional impact it can have on you and your family.
We’re here to help. We may be able to connect you with top mesothelioma medical specialists, support groups, innovative treatments, and lawyers who can fight for the compensation you deserve so you can heal in peace.
Connect with one of our nurses to get started today.
Mesothelioma Stage 3 FAQs
Is stage 3 mesothelioma curable?
Stage 3 mesothelioma is treatable, but there is currently no known cure for any stage of mesothelioma. Treatment at this stage focuses on managing symptoms, extending life expectancy, and improving the patient’s quality of life.
What is the life expectancy for mesothelioma stage 3?
The life expectancy for individuals with stage 3 mesothelioma can vary widely. Recent data from the NCDB shows that the average life expectancy for mesothelioma stage 3 is nearly 19 months. Some patients have been able to live for even longer thanks to treatment advancements.
What is stage 3B mesothelioma?
Stage 3B is a substage of stage 3 mesothelioma. In this substage, the cancer has spread throughout the chest and even reached the abdomen and the other lung. Because it is more widespread, it may be difficult to treat through surgery, and some patients may not be good candidates for surgery.
However, there are still treatment options for stage 3B mesothelioma. Call (877) 446-5767 now to connect with one of our mesothelioma nurses who can help you find treatments.