Stage II Mesothelioma
A diagnosis of Stage II mesothelioma means the cancer has begun to spread from the original tumor site. Although still mostly localized, Stage II mesothelioma has spread to the lymph nodes and may have spread to nearby areas. This progression usually creates vague and mild symptoms, which become more apparent as the cancer continues to grow. A patient diagnosed by Stage II generally has more treatment options and a better prognosis than a patient diagnosed at a later stage.
In most patients, the cancer forms in the lining of the lungs, called the pleura. For example, at Stage II of pleural mesothelioma, the cancer may have spread to the lining of the chest wall, the lining of the diaphragm, and the lining of the heart sac. However, because the cancer has not yet spread throughout the body, curative treatments may be available. At this stage, pleural mesothelioma patients usually have surgical options which may improve their prognosis.
Symptoms of Stage II Mesothelioma
Symptoms during Stage II mesothelioma may be vague and mild. Pleural mesothelioma patients may develop a cough or have difficulty breathing. In peritoneal mesothelioma, the first symptoms to appear are usually pain, bloating, weight loss and changes in bowel habits. Pericardial mesothelioma patients may first experience chest pain, difficulty breathing, cough, fever or night sweats.
Treating Stage II Mesothelioma
In many cases, Stage II mesothelioma can be treated by a number of means. At this stage, tumor growth is generally contained to one area. This makes it a good candidate for potentially curative surgery, which aims to remove all visible cancer growth.
Doctors may advise pleural mesothelioma patients to undergo extrapleural pneumonectomy or pleurectomy/decortication. Extrapleural pneumonectomy involves the complete removal of the affected lung. Pleurectomy/decortication is much less extensive and only removes the affected lining of the lung and chest wall.
Most doctors also recommend chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. The combination of treatments, called multimodal therapy, helps to kill as many cancer cells as possible. These treatments are especially important for patients who are not good candidates for surgical options.
Prognosis for Stage II Patients
The prognosis of Stage II patients is generally better than average for mesothelioma. Because the cancer has not become widespread, it can still be treated effectively. This can help prolong life expectancy.
One study found a strong correlation between pleural mesothelioma stages and life expectancy. In the study of 131 patients, patients who were diagnosed at Stage II had a median survival of 16 months. Some Stage II patients lived for years after diagnosis.