Doctors use three main mesothelioma staging systems to manage cases of the disease. These three staging systems are:
- The Brigham System: the most recent and least frequently used system; based upon tumor removability, lymph node involvement, and degree of metastasis. This novel and complex staging system is seldom employed compared to Butchart and TNM staging.
- The Butchart System: the oldest and most commonly used staging system for mesothelioma. Composed of four stages characterized by tumor mass and location within the body of the patent. As tumor mass increases, the treatment schedule specified in the system changes, as well.
- The TNM (Tumor-Node-Metastasis) System: a four-stage system that describes the extent of cancer in a patient’s body. It is the standard system of the International Union Against Cancer (UICC). The TNM system describes 3 key pieces of information: the spread of the main tumor (T), how much the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes (N), and whether the cancer has metastasized (M) to other organs of the body, in particular the pleura on the other side of the body, the lungs, and the peritoneum.
Using these staging systems of mesothelioma, a doctor can assess the damage done and recommend treatment options.