Quick Facts About Stage 2 Mesothelioma
Stage 2 mesothelioma is an early–stage cancer. It hasn’t spread far from where it first appeared in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. If you’re diagnosed with stage 2 mesothelioma, you are eligible for curative treatment.
- The tumor is limited to one side of the chest.
- In more advanced cases, it may have spread to the diaphragm or the surface of the lung itself.
- Stage 2 mesothelioma responds well to curative treatment, because its spread is limited.
Stage 2 Symptoms
Like symptoms caused by stage one mesothelioma, stage 2 symptoms are similar to those caused by other diseases. In fact, it’s common for doctors to first diagnose stage 2 mesothelioma as pneumonia or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
If you’ve received a stage 2 diagnosis, your main source of discomfort will be pressure resulting from the build up of fluid in the lining of your lungs, abdomen, or heart. Where you feel this pressure depends on the location of the mesothelioma. For example, patients diagnosed with stage 2 pleural mesothelioma experience breathing difficulties caused by pressure from excess fluid in the lung’s lining, the pleura; more advanced cases may feel chest pain resulting from its hardening.
Symptoms you may experience if you’ve been diagnosed with stage 2 mesothelioma include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pressure
- Persistent cough
- Weight loss
Your Treatment Options
If you’ve been diagnosed with stage 2 mesothelioma, you’re eligible for curative treatment options that can extend your life expectancy. At this stage, the mesothelioma hasn’t spread far enough to render traditional treatments, like surgery or chemotherapy, ineffective.
As far as curative surgery is concerned, patients with pleural mesothelioma can have an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) or a pleurectomy with decortication (P/D); several studies have shown that both have significantly extended patients’ survival times. Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma can have cytoreductive surgery; when paired with chemotherapy, this procedure has extended survival times to 5 years and beyond. Regardless of the location of the mesothelioma, your doctor may also give you palliative treatment designed to relieve discomfort caused by symptoms.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also options for stage 2 patients. Your doctor will determine if you’re eligible for either, and may combine them with surgery in a multimodal therapy.
Your treatment options The choice of surgery is always determined by how far a patient’s mesothelioma has spread outside the pleura or peritoneum. Because the spread of the cancer is still limited during stage 2, patients are eligible for more aggressive treatments and have a better chance of improving their prognosis.
Stage 2 by Staging Systems
Doctors use 3 staging systems to describe how far stage–one mesothelioma has spread. Using these systems helps them determine which treatment options will work best for your diagnosis.
TNM System, Stage 2: The TNM system describes the growth of mesothelioma using 3 factors: tumor, lymph nodes, and metastasis.
In stage 2 of the TNM system, the cancer has spread from the lining of one lung to the diaphragm, nearby lymph nodes and the lining of the heart.
Brigham System, Stage 2: In stage 2 of the Brigham system, the tumor may have spread to groups of nearby lymph nodes. Your doctor will be able to remove most of the mesothelioma via surgery.
Butchart System, Stage 2: In stage 2 of the Butchart system, the cancer has metastasized from its point of origin on the pleura of one lung to the pleura of the other. It may also have spread to the pericardium and nearby lymph nodes.
Improve Your Prognosis
Being diagnosed with stage 2 mesothelioma can be frightening, but you have hope. Stage 2 mesothelioma is still largely confined to one side of the body, and is easier for doctors to remove with curative treatment. In fact, patients with stage 2 mesothelioma survive an average of 2 years after having surgery; some exceed the average and live even longer.