To determine the extent of a cancer and the appropriate treatments, staging systems are used. Most mesothelioma staging systems range from Stage 1 to Stage 4 based on whether surgery can be used to remove or treat the tumor and whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
A diagnosis of Stage 2 mesothelioma typically means the cancer is now entering the advanced stages. Cancer that has spread to at least one other organ is considered advanced. If a person has pleural mesothelioma, a Stage 2 diagnosis is given if the cancer has spread from the pleural membranes to the lungs or the diaphragm.
Symptoms of Stage 2 Mesothelioma
A Stage 2 mesothelioma diagnosis indicates that the cancer is present in the lining on one side of the chest wall, the space between the lungs, and the linings that cover the lung and diaphragm. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, at this stage the tumor has invaded one or both of these areas:
- Diaphragm muscle
In this state, mesothelioma may involve the lymph nodes, but it hasn’t metastasized or spread to distant areas of the body yet. A patient with Stage 2 disease may experience mild symptoms such as a persistent cough; a feeling of breathlessness; or pain in the lower back, side of the chest, or abdomen.
Treatment Options for Stage 2
There are fewer treatment options available for Stage 2 mesothelioma than for Stage 1. However, those that remain can still improve a patient’s overall prognosis. For instance, some curative treatments may be pursued, although the success of those treatments is reduced because the cancer has spread out from its initial location.
A mesothelioma patient may undergo surgery to remove the tumors and the affected lymph nodes. Pleurectomy is a surgery used to remove the part of the pleura infiltrated by the cancer. Surgery to drain fluid that builds up in the chest may also be recommended.
Mesothelioma surgery is typically followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy to destroy the remaining cancer cells.
Although the cancer has advanced, the prognosis for a patient diagnosed with Stage 2 mesothelioma is better than if the disease is caught in the later stages. At this stage, there are still a number of effective treatment options available both to improve mesothelioma life expectancy and to alleviate some of the disease’s symptoms.