Stage 3 Mesothelioma

In stage 3 mesothelioma, the cancer is found spreading near the point where it started by the lining of the lungs.

Stage 3 Mesothelioma Facts
Mesothelioma Stages

What is stage 3 mesothelioma?

In stage 3 mesothelioma, the cancer is found spreading near the point where it started by the lining of the lungs. Tumors from this cancer are located throughout the pleural lining on the chest. The areas that can become infected are the heart sac, between the lungs, the chest wall, and the diaphragm. In stage 3 the tumors have not yet spread to other organs unlike stage 4. The TNM system was updated this month by the American Joint Committee where they break stage 3 mesothelioma up into two sections; A and B.

Stage 3A: The cancer has spread to lymph nodes and potentially the heart sac and chest wall. The tumors have developed into areas such as the lungs, diaphragm, and mediastinum on one side of the chest. Fortunately, surgery is still an option to remove all of the tumors.

Stage 3B: Depending on the size of the tumors that have developed and how much the lymph nodes are affected, there ae two different variations. It can be possible to remove the tumors with surgery if the cancer has not spread too far, even if it already affected the lymph nodes. In some cases, the cancer has spread to much from where it initially began to completely ensure that surgery would remove it all.

Mesothelioma Stages

Stage 3 Mesothelioma Facts

At stage 3B, the tumors could have spread into the lung lining, chest, through the heart sac, the lining of the abdomen, or even the heart. The cancer itself could have potentially spread into the ribs, spine, organs in between the lungs, the muscle of the chest wall, or even the esophagus.

The second a stage 3 mesothelioma diagnosis is made it is important to get treatment as soon as possible.

The cancer can migrate into the chest cavity and other organs as soon as it enters the blood stream or lymph system, which makes it harder to rid of.

The second most common form of mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma; and if a doctor believe it is stage 3 it means the cancer has most likely spreads to the lining of the abdomen and lymph nodes nearby.

The symptoms for stage 3 are very aggressive and visible. Some symptoms include:

  • Recurring dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness or pin in chest

The symptoms worsen as the tumors grow and spread throughout the body, but can vary in different patients.
If a tumor grows into a lung it can cause difficulty breathing and if it spreads to the chest it can cause chest pain.

Stage 3 Mesothelioma
Asbestos Lung Cancer
What is Mesothelioma?

Defining Stage 3 Mesothelioma

Doctors can use three different systems, the Brighham, Butchart, and TNM staging system for pleural mesothelioma. These three different systems are a little different from one other when calculating the spread of the cancer.

TNM Staging System: For this system, the cancer is divided into the two categories; 3A and 3B. in 3A, surgery is still possible to remove tumors that have traveled to places such as the lymph nodes and the mediastinum. In stage 3B, the surgery can not guarantee complete removal of the tumors that have spread throughout the body.

Brighman Staging System: Surgery is no longer an option since the tumors have moved into the area between the lungs and into the diaphragm and chest wall.

Butchart Staging System: The cancer has moved into distant lymph nodes that are located outside the chest and the tumor has spread to the lining of the abdomen or diaphragm.

What is Mesothelioma?

Types of Malignant Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma arises in the membrane which surrounds the lung, called the pleura. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of this deadly cancer.

Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdominal cavity, called the peritoneum. Peritoneal mesothelioma is less common but is more often found in women than in men.

Pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, which lines the heart.

Mesothelioma Treatment
Mesothelioma Treatment

How is Stage 3 Mesothelioma Treated?

The best survival rates for this cancer are people who have undergone tumor- removing surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.


Extrapleural Surgery is an intense surgery for patients with stage 3 pleural mesothelioma. This surgery is for when tumors have spread to lymph nodes and other surrounding tissues. It does not remove the lung itself, but the affected areas around it.

Pleuroectomy and Decortication procedure is another surgery option depending on how much the tumors have spread. It is less intense and removes the lining of the lung and clears out the chest cavity of any tumors.


When combined with chemotherapy, Extrapleural suregery and Pleuroectomy show the best rates of survival.

As soon as a patient recovers from surgery is when chemotherapy can begin, however in some cases it can be administered before or during surgery.

Radiation Therapy

This therapy is started after the patient has undergone surgery to avoid local recurrence. However, research has shown better survival rates when radiation is given before surgery.

Palliative Care

Palliative therapies are for patients who are not healthy enough to undergo surgery or other intense treatments.

These treatments are meant to better improve the person overall. They are not expended to cure the cancer, but they can help relieve some of the pain through palliative radiation and chemotherapy. Palliative surgery is also done to remove the buildup of fluids to make breathing easier.

Clinical Trials

Two evolving areas in treatment for this cancer are gene therapy and immunotherapy which provide the best hope for survival for people who have stage 3 even though they are not FDA approved.

Alternative and Complementary Therapies

Therapies like yoga, nutritional counseling, and acupuncture help to improve overall health and immune system, especially when they are combined with other treatments.

However, some patients choose to not go forward with the other therapies that are offered, but a study from Yale School of Medicine in 2017 shows that people who solely rely on alternative medicine have lower survival rates.

Stage 3 Mesothelioma Life Expectancy & Prognosis

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Approximately 26-30 percent of stage 3 patients live at least 2 years.
The amount of the affected lymph nodes and response to treatment is what the life expectancy depends on.
Patients tend to live longer if they have a successful surgery and recovery.

Mesothelioma Stages

How Lymph Nodes Affect Cancer?

The lymphatic system has the ability to carry cancer cells to other organs, which is why they play an important role in the spread of cancer. The cancer is considered fatal after the cells enter the system.

The goal is to get rid of as many as the cancer cells as soon as possible before it spreads to other parts of the body, which is why it is vital to start treatment when diagnosed. A patient can typically live up to two years if the cancer does not spread to too much of the lymph nodes.

How Lymph Nodes Affect Cancer .
What is Mesothelioma?

Survival Rates Don’t Tell the Whole Story

All patients responded differently to treatments and have different factors that affect their survival rate. Some factors include cancer cell types, overall health, age, gender, and response to treatment. In some cases, some patients outlive their expected survival rate.

What is Mesothelioma?

Common Mesothelioma Stages

Mesothelioma Staging demands a variety of diagnostic examinations to identify the tumor area, overall size, and whether it has spread beyond the immediate location. The four stages of pleural mesothelioma cancer vary marginally within each system, but they could be generalized as suggested below. Please click into the individual pages to get more information about each stage. So when the question, “What is Mesothelioma?” is asked, there are a few stages that it could be answered in, the following are the known stages of mesothelioma.


Within Stage 1, the mesothelioma tumor is generally in one location, and the cancerous cells have not dispersed to lymph nodes or other body organs and tissues. In general, surgical treatment may be an option for eliminating the cancerous growth.




Within Stage 2, the mesothelioma tumor is larger and has probably intruded on surrounding organs, such as the lung or even diaphragm. Lymph nodes could additionally be included. In this case, surgical reapportion might still be feasible, however much more difficult depending on the scope of the growth.


Within Stage 3, mesothelioma cancer has infested a region or perhaps location, like the chest wall, esophagus or lymph nodes. Surgical treatment is typically not an option as a curative therapy, however various other treatment options may be attempted.



Within Stage 4, the mesothelioma has dispersed to numerous locations, such as various other organs and tissues throughout the body. Surgical treatment is no longer an alternative, and most treatments at this stage concentrate on minimizing discomfort and pain.