Diagnosis & staging
These are tests that may be used to diagnose this type of cancer.
- An X-ray can show whether the fluid around the organ has thickened.
- A CT scan can show the size and location of the tumour and whether it has spread.
- Thoracoscopy - a thin, flexible viewing tube is inserted through a small incision in the chest.
- Biopsy - cells are removed from the body to examine with a microscope
- needle biopsy - a sample of fluid or tissue may be removed using a thin, hollow needle
- an endoscope tube may be inserted to view inside the body and remove tissue
- surgery may be required to get a tissue sample or to remove the entire tumour.
For more information on tests used to diagnose cancer, see our Recommended Websites, Diagnostic Tests
Types and Stages
Staging describes the extent of a cancer. The TNM classification system is used as the standard around the world. In general a lower number in each category means a better prognosis. The stage of the cancer is used to plan the treatment.
T describes the site and size of the main tumour (primary)
N describes involvement of lymph nodes
M relates to whether the cancer has spread (presence or absence of distant metastases)
A simplified version of the staging of pleural mesothelioma is found below. An in-depth explanation of the staging is available on the Cancer.net
The pleura lining the chest wall on one side of the chest is affected. The pleural lining of the diaphragm, lung, pericardium, or diaphragm on the same side of the chest may or may not be affected. Lymph nodes are not involved.
Mesothelioma involves the pleural lining on one side of the chest and has spread into the lung or diaphragm. There is no spread to the lymph nodes or distant sites.
Mesothelioma is in the pleural lining of one side of the body and at least one other nearby organ or tissue: lung, diaphragm, chest wall, muscle, ribs, mediastinum, esophagus. It may have spread to lymph nodes on the same side of the body, but distant sites are not affected.
Mesothelioma has spread into the lymph nodes in the chest on the side opposite the primary tumour, to the pleura or lung on the opposite side, or directly into organs in the abdominal cavity or neck. Distant sites may be affected.