Mesothelioma Stage 1

Stage 1 pleural mesothelioma is the earliest stage of this deadly cancer. It’s the easiest stage to treat as the cancer hasn’t spread, but most patients aren’t diagnosed this early.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma stage 1, Simmons Hanly Conroy can help you pursue compensation for medical care and more.

Call (800) 326-8900 now to see if our team can help you after a mesothelioma diagnosis.

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An image depicting a few cancer cells forming in the lining of a lung

What Is Mesothelioma Stage 1?

Stage 1 is the first stage of malignant pleural mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs (pleura).

According to the TNM (Tumor-Node-Metastasis) staging system, there are two substages of stage 1 pleural mesothelioma:

  • Stage 1A: Mesothelioma cells are found in the outer layer of the pleura on one side of the chest.
  • Stage 1B: The cancer has spread into the inner layer of the pleura.

Other types of mesothelioma don’t have official staging systems. Instead, doctors can see how far tumors have spread and classify the cancers as localized or advanced, with localized being similar to stage 1 or 2.

In this stage, the cancer has not spread or metastasized to distant organs or nearby lymph nodes, so the cancer is still considered to be local.

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Causes of Stage 1 Mesothelioma Cancer

Stage 1 mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. When asbestos products are used or disturbed, microscopic fibers are released into the air, where they can be inhaled or ingested.

However, these fibers don’t break down in the body. Instead, they get trapped in the lining of certain organs, like the lungs. Over the years, the fibers irritate healthy tissue and eventually cause cancer cells to develop.

No matter which stage of this cancer you have, Simmons Hanly Conroy is here to help. As a national mesothelioma law firm, we may be able to help you pursue justice and compensation from the companies responsible for your cancer.

Learn more about your options now with a free legal consultation.

Mesothelioma Stage 1 Symptoms

Pleural mesothelioma patients may experience little to no symptoms in stage 1. Asbestos-related cancers like mesothelioma take 10-50 years before first developing or showing signs.

Common stage 1 pleural mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

Stage 2 mesothelioma patients usually have the same or similar symptoms as stage 1 patients.

Because stages 1 and 2 are both early-stage mesothelioma, the cancer hasn’t spread far, limiting the severity of symptoms.

Signs of Late-Stage Mesothelioma

Stages 3 and 4 are late stages of mesothelioma. By these stages, the cancer has started to spread beyond where it first began, which causes more noticeable symptoms than stage 1 cases.

Signs and symptoms of advanced-stage mesothelioma may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anemia (low red blood count)
  • Fluid buildup in the abdomen or chest
  • General feeling of discomfort
  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • Pleural effusions (buildup of fluid in the pleura)
  • Weight loss

Whichever stage of mesothelioma you have, our team can help you find cancer centers nearby and pursue compensation for your medical care.

Call (800) 326-8900 now to learn more. There’s no cost to contact us.

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy at Stage 1

Pleural mesothelioma stage 1 life expectancy is generally 21 months, according to a Frontiers in Oncology report, though this can vary greatly.

Your life expectancy with stage 1 mesothelioma can be affected by factors like:

  • Age: Clients who are older may also have other health conditions that can weaken the body and make recovery less likely.
  • Lifestyle choices: Unhealthy diet, alcohol consumption and smoking may worsen cancer symptoms.
  • Type of cells: Mesothelioma has three main cell types: epithelioid, sarcomatoid and biphasic. Sarcomatoid and biphasic cells are more aggressive.
  • Treatment options available: Surgery is still an option for stage 1 mesothelioma patients because the cancer is not as extensive as it is in later stages.

Early diagnosis and treatment may be able to improve your mesothelioma stage 1 life expectancy and prognosis (overall health outlook).

If you worked with asbestos and are now feeling unwell, tell your doctor. They can order the appropriate tests to determine if you have mesothelioma.

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Stage 1 Mesothelioma Survival Rate

The survival rate is the percentage of people with a condition who are still alive after a period of time.

Currently, the average 5-year survival rate for stage 1 mesothelioma is around 24%, according to the American Cancer Society.

However, the mesothelioma survival rate at stage 1 varies based on several factors, such as overall health, age and treatment plans.

Stage 1 Mesothelioma Treatment Options

Stage 1 mesothelioma is often discovered by accident when an oncology (cancer) doctor performs a CT scan or X-ray while diagnosing another condition. The health care team will perform a biopsy to confirm whether you have mesothelioma.

After diagnosing you, your cancer center may recommend the following treatments for mesothelioma.

Two doctors perform surgery

Mesothelioma Surgery

Surgery is the main treatment for stage 1 pleural mesothelioma patients.

There are two main surgery options for stage 1 patients:

  • Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP): An EPP removes the pleura, part of the diaphragm and the lung closest to the mesothelioma tumors.
  • Pleurectomy and Decortication (P/D): This surgery removes the pleura along with the mesothelioma tumors. The lung isn’t removed, so patients may recover more quickly than if they received an EPP.
A patient's arm is shown with an iv for chemotherapy


Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses medication to kill cancer cells. Two of the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma are pemetrexed (Alimta®) and cisplatin.

Your oncologist may also use chemotherapy before (neoadjuvant), during or after surgery (adjuvant) to kill microscopic cancer cells that weren’t removed.

Radiation therapy machine

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy involves the use of energy beams that kill cancer cells. Mesothelioma doctors often use radiation therapy after surgery to prevent cancer from returning (recurrence).

Radiation therapy after P/D or EPP may boost survival times for some stage 1 patients.

A patient rolls up his sleeve for the doctor


Immunotherapy is a kind of stage 1 mesothelioma treatment that helps your immune system fight cancer.

There are several types of immunotherapy for treating mesothelioma cancer:

  • Immune system modulators: These boost the body’s immune response against cancer. Some affect specific parts of the immune system, while others affect the immune system as a whole.
  • Monoclonal antibodies: These are lab-made proteins that make the cancer easier for the immune system to target by binding to certain targets on cancer cells.
  • T-cell transfer therapy: This involves taking T-cells from your body, changing them to better attack cancer cells and putting the back into your body through a needle.

Some of these immunotherapy treatments are widely available while others can only be accessed through trials.

A lab technician looks into a microscope

Clinical Trials & Emerging Mesothelioma Treatments

If none of the above treatments are working, you may want to consider joining clinical trials or research studies that test experimental therapies and drugs.

Clinical trials can give you access to emerging stage 1 mesothelioma treatments, such as photodynamic therapy and gene therapy. Talk to mesothelioma specialists to learn more about your options.

Treatment for mesothelioma, even in its earliest stages, can amount to over $400,000 a year.

Call (800) 326-8900 now to see if you qualify for compensation that can help cover these costs.

Our Experienced Mesothelioma Lawyers Can Help

As a national mesothelioma law firm with over 20 years of experience, Simmons Hanly Conroy is committed to fight for justice on behalf of asbestos exposure victims and their families.

Our experienced team of mesothelioma lawyers can help clients in all 50 states seek compensation from the asbestos companies responsible for their illness.

We’ve recovered more than $9.6 billion for mesothelioma clients across the country.

Call (800) 326-8900 now for a free legal consultation to see if our mesothelioma lawyers can help your family.

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Hear from a Pleural Mesothelioma Survivor

Art Putt received a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis decades after working as a car mechanic. During his work, Art regularly inhaled dust that was released from brakes that contained asbestos.

Following his diagnosis, Art pursued treatments like chemotherapy and immunotherapy as well as natural remedies to help him live longer.

“Originally, the doctor said he would have possibly six months to a year.”
– Jan, Art’s Wife

Art and his wife Jan also reached out to Simmons Hanly Conroy for help securing justice and compensation from companies that used asbestos and put Art’s life at risk.

“What our lawyer did for us made our financial situation a whole lot better. We gave all that money to our kids, paid our house off, made our life a little easier. We’ve got no financial worries.”
– Art, Mesothelioma Survivor & Firm Client

Diagnosed in 2018, Art is still leading a happy and fulfilling life today with his wife Jan by his side.

Art Putt, an older man with glasses

Read Art’s Story

Stage 1 Pleural Mesothelioma FAQs

What is the mesothelioma prognosis for stage 1?

Stage 1 pleural mesothelioma has the best prognosis of all mesothelioma types. Patients with stage 1 mesothelioma typically live for an average of 21 months, according to a Frontiers in Oncology report.

However, this number can vary dramatically, depending on a patient’s overall health at diagnosis, age, lifestyle and other factors.

Can stage 1 mesothelioma be cured?

Like other stages of mesothelioma, stage 1 mesothelioma is not curable. However, some patients with stage 1 mesothelioma may experience long-term remission (disappearance of cancer signs and symptoms) with early diagnosis and treatment.

What is the mesothelioma survival rate at stage 1?

For stage 1 mesothelioma or localized stages, the 5-year survival rate is around 24%, according to the American Cancer Society.

However, it’s possible to live for many years or even decades after a stage 1 mesothelioma diagnosis in some cases, depending on the individual and the treatments they receive.

What are the beginning stages of mesothelioma?

The beginning stages of mesothelioma are:

  • Stage 1: When early tumor growth happens in the lining of one lung and some surrounding areas, such as the diaphragm
  • Stage 2: When mesothelioma cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes

The later stages of mesothelioma consist of:

  • Stage 3: When mesothelioma tumors have invaded nearby organs and lymph nodes, such as the chest wall and the pericardium (heart lining)
  • Stage 4: When metastasis has happened, which means tumors have spread to distant parts of the body, including the chest organs, brain and liver

Is there a peritoneal mesothelioma stage 1?

Not technically. There is no official staging system for peritoneal mesothelioma.

However, doctors may classify this type of mesothelioma as:

  • Localized, which would correspond with stages 1 and 2
  • Advanced, which would be stages 3 and 4
Simmons Support Team
Amy Fair R.N.Reviewed by:Amy Fair R.N.

Director of Medical Relations

  • Fact-Checked
  • Medical Reviewer

Amy fills a unique role helping guide patients and families through the often confusing and overwhelming steps following an asbestos-related cancer diagnosis. Assisted by 14 medical assistants and a Licensed Practical Nurse, Amy and her medical team provide healthcare information and explain treatment options to those recently diagnosed and throughout the progression of their disease.

View Sources
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  12. Respiratory Medicine Case Reports. “A patient with epithelioid pleural mesothelioma (Myxoid variant) who survived for a long period without treatment.” Retrieved May 5, 2023 from
  13. Rossini, M., et al. “New Perspectives on Diagnosis and Therapy of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.” Retrieved June 27, 2023, from