Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that affects the delicate membranes surrounding the lungs, abdomen, and heart. Stage II mesothelioma is an early stage of the disease. The mesothelioma tumors have not spread far from where they first appeared, usually in the lung lining in the case of pleural mesothelioma. (Cancer.org)
It is estimated that the two-year survival rate for stage II mesothelioma is 38%, and the five-year survival rate is 11%. While the cancer is not curable, getting an early diagnosis and treatment can result in a better prognosis.
Stage 2 Mesothelioma Overview
The cancer at this stage is challenging to diagnose because mesothelioma has a latency period of 10 to 40 years, meaning that years can pass from the exposure to asbestos to the development of cancer. It often shows no symptoms until it is in the advanced stages. (Cancercenter.com)
In stage II mesothelioma, the tumor is still on one side of the chest. In stages III and IV, cancer may have metastasized and spread to the diaphragm or surface of the lung. Stage II mesothelioma usually responds well to treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation because the spread of the disease has been limited.
Facts About Stage 2 Mesothelioma
- The two-year survival rate is 38%
- There usually are no major symptoms
- Surgery to remove tumors is recommended for many patients
- Surgery is usually followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy
Options After Stage 2 Mesothelioma Diagnosis
The best option after getting a stage II mesothelioma diagnosis is to locate a team of mesothelioma specialists who know how to treat this cancer. It is vital to get treatment as soon as you are diagnosed so cancer does not spread further than it already has.
Working with doctors who have treated stage II mesothelioma successfully will give you the best prognosis. Mesothelioma specialists know all about asbestos cancer and how to treat it. Not every medical center has mesothelioma specialists, so be sure to find the best specialists you can in your area.
Symptoms of Stage 2 Mesothelioma
Stage II mesothelioma symptoms are similar to those of other diseases. That is why many doctors will misdiagnose mesothelioma in the early stages as pneumonia or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Because mesothelioma is so rare, many doctors fail to consider the possibility when diagnosing the patient. (asbestos.com)
If you have a stage II diagnosis, the major symptom you feel probably the pressure in the chest from the buildup of fluid in the lining of your lungs. This is known as a pleural effusion. Where you feel the pressure depends on the exact location of the tumors. The pleural effusion occurs because the pleura begins to produce more fluid when it is irritated, inflamed, or diseased.
Patients who are diagnosed with stage II pleural mesothelioma may have trouble breathing because of pressure from the pleural effusion in the lining of the lung. In more advanced cases of mesothelioma, you may feel chest pain as the pleura hardens.
Other symptoms of stage II mesothelioma are:
- Chest pain
- Chest pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Dry cough that does not go away
Stage II Mesothelioma Characteristics
Once mesothelioma cells have gotten to the hilar lymph nodes, the disease is considered stage II or higher, even if the main tumor growth is small. Hilar lymph nodes, also called N1 lymph nodes, are at the root of the lung.
There are two key characteristics of this stage of mesothelioma:
- Tumors have grown in the membrane lining of the chest cavity and around the lungs.
- Cancer cells have gotten to nearby lymph nodes.
Tumor cells that have gotten to the hilar lymph nodes is the difference between stage II and stage I mesothelioma. In stage I, the cancer cells have not gotten to lymph nodes. In stage II, tumors may or may not have developed in the breathing muscle under the lungs or into lung tissue.
Treatment Options for Stage 2 Mesothelioma
Stage 2 mesothelioma is treatable with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Even if some lymph nodes are involved, there are good treatment options available for this cancer. Clinical trials offering immunotherapy and other novel treatments may be good options.
- Surgery: There are two options to remove the tumors. The difference comes down to whether the surgeon needs to remove one of your lungs to cut out all signs of cancer. The surgeries used are either an extrapleural pneumonectomy or a pleurectomy with decortication.
- Chemotherapy: Your surgeon may have you undergo chemotherapy before or after surgery. A combination of Alimta and carboplatin or cisplatin is the most common chemo for pleural mesothelioma. Patients who cannot have surgery can get chemotherapy alone. If you have stage 2 peritoneal mesothelioma, the chemotherapy drug can be circulated in the abdominal cavity during the operation to kill any cancer cells that cannot be cut out.
- Radiation: This therapy can be used to shrink tumors before the operation or to prevent recurrence after surgery. Radiation therapy also can be a palliative treatment to reduce pain and discomfort.
- Clinical trials: Cancer patients can access new treatments by participating in clinical trials. These trials often use gene therapy, immunotherapy, and new combinations of chemotherapy.
The bottom line is that stage 2 mesothelioma is treatable in many cases with cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation if you are diagnosed early. The cancer is not curable but a longer survival time is possible with proper diagnosis and treatment. It is important to be in regular contact with your physician if you know you were exposed to asbestos in your employment.
Your doctor can do regular chest X-rays to see if any abnormalities are developing. That way, if you ever do get mesothelioma, it can be caught in an early stage and your life may be extended by months or even years.
Get Mesothelioma Legal Help Immediately
With over $30 billion available for victims through the Asbestos Trust Funds, you could be entitled to financial compensations without ever filing a lawsuit. Mesothelioma & Lung Cancer victims qualify immediately. Complete the form or call us toll-free (800) 352-0871.