The Stages of Asbestos Cancer

The first thing your doctor will want to determine after a mesothelioma diagnosis is what stage the cancer is at. Staging is a process that doctors use to determine how far the cancer has spread and how aggressive it is. Staging is important not only as a means to inform the patient, but to come up with an appropriate treatment plan. The stage of the cancer will determine how the body will respond to various treatment methods.

CT and MRI Scans for Mesothelioma Staging

CT scans and MRI scans are often used to determine if and how much the cancer has spread. Because the latency period for mesothelioma is so long (sometime up to 40 years), many patients do not discover that they have mesothelioma until it is in its later stages. This is why regular cancer screenings are so important, especially for people who believe they may have been exposed to the carcinogenic substance asbestos.


There is a test called a “mediastinoscopy” that can help doctors determine if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. This type of test involves using an illuminated instrument called a scope and inserting it into the center of the chest (mediastinum) to view the lymph nodes. From there, the doctor will be able to tell whether the cancer has spread to this area. The difference between a mediastinoscopy and a mediastinotomy is that the former is inserted through an incision in the patient’s neck while the latter is inserted through the chest. Both procedures use a scope to procure a tissue sample for testing.

Were you or a loved one diagnosed with mesothelioma? We invite you to contact Worthington & Caron today for a review of your legal rights and options. Our motto is “asbestos lawyers for life” so let us help you in the fight for justice, for hope, and for life.