Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that starts in the thin layer of tissue called the mesothelium.
It is caused by exposure to asbestos. When exposed, asbestos fibers can get into the body and cause irritation to the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, which can lead to tumor development.
Mesothelioma is usually found in the chest or abdomen lining, but it can also occur in other parts of the body, such as the heart.
Stage 2 mesothelioma is the second stage of the cancer. It is still treatable, but life expectancy is shorter than if a person is diagnosed at stage 1.
Stages of Mesothelioma
There are four stages of pleural mesothelioma:
- Stage 1: The tumor has not spread to other parts of the body, and there is limited tumor growth.
- Stage 2: The tumor displays growth and has spread to other parts of the body, but not outside the chest cavity.
- Stage 3: The cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body, including outside the chest cavity and the primary tumor shows more growth.
- Stage 4: The cancer cells have spread throughout the body and there is advanced growth of the primary tumor.
The TNM Staging System
The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM system is the most commonly used staging system for mesothelioma.
The AJCC TNM system allows clinicians to determine prognosis based on how much the cancer has invaded the organ and spread to other areas. It also allows for the prediction of survival rates based on how far the cancer has spread.
This staging system is based on three key pieces of information:
- T: the size and location of the primary mesothelioma tumor
- N: if the mesothelioma cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes
- M: if the cancer cells have spread (metastasized) through the body
To provide additional information, numbers and letters may be added to the TNM denotations. These details are combined to determine which stage of mesothelioma a person has.
Stage 2 Mesothelioma
There is only a formal staging system for pleural mesothelioma at the moment, although some doctors use PCI, or Peritoneal Cancer Index, for peritoneal cancer.
The main difference between stage 1 and stage 2 mesothelioma is that in stage 2 mesothelioma, cancer cells have spread into nearby lymph nodes. The cells may have spread to the diaphragm or into the lung tissue.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and abdomen. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, a material used in insulation and construction.
Asbestos is a mineral that was used for many years in building materials because it is fire resistant and good at insulating against heat.
When people are exposed to asbestos, tiny fibers can enter their lungs and cause inflammation of lung tissue. This inflammation may lead to long-term health problems such as mesothelioma or other types of cancer.
Who is at Risk?
The risk of developing mesothelioma depends on the amount of asbestos a person has been exposed to. People who work in construction or manufacturing industries are more likely to be exposed to asbestos than people who do not work in these areas.
In addition, people who live near an area where there has been a large release of asbestos are also at greater risk of developing mesothelioma.
In stage 2 mesothelioma, people may still not experience many symptoms. If they do, they may be non-specific and not appear linked. This can make it difficult for doctors to diagnose mesothelioma, as they may be looking for other conditions.
Symptoms of mesothelioma may include:
- abdominal pain
- abdominal swelling
- chest pain
- decreased appetite
- difficulty swallowing
- fluid build-up in the abdomen (ascites)
- fluid buildup (effusion) in the lung
- heart murmur
- irregular bowel movements
- irregular heart rhythm
- lumps under the skin on the chest
- nausea or vomiting
- night sweats
- pain in the side of the chest or lower back
- shortness of breath
- swelling of the face and arms
- weight loss without trying
Not all of the above symptoms may necessarily be present in stage 2 mesothelioma, but it is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of the above, just in case.
Diagnosing Stage 2 Mesothelioma
Diagnosing stage 2 mesothelioma can be difficult as no specific symptoms or signs point to this disease. It is important for doctors to understand the patient’s work history, family history, and lifestyle habits to diagnose this disease correctly.
In order to diagnose stage 2 mesothelioma, a doctor will first perform a physical exam. This includes listening to the patient’s chest with a stethoscope and checking for signs of fluid in the chest or abdomen. The doctor will also look for signs of shortness of breath, cough, or any other symptoms that might indicate mesothelioma.
If there are no other symptoms, then the doctor may order an X-ray or CT scan to examine the lungs and chest cavity more closely. These scans enable doctors to see if there are tumors in the lungs and if they have spread outside of them. They can also show where fluid is accumulating in the body, which might be due to cancer cells blocking lymph nodes.
Treatment options for stage 2 mesothelioma include:
- Surgery: This aims to remove the tumor and some of the healthy tissue around it.
- Chemotherapy: This uses a combination of different medications to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.
- Radiation therapy: This uses radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.
Multimodal therapy is a treatment for pleural mesothelioma that combines surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. A study was conducted in 2022 on stage 1 and 2 pleural mesothelioma patients to assess the safety and efficacy of multimodal therapy. The study found that multimodal therapy is safe and effective at improving survival rates for these patients.
Statistics from Cancer Research UK show that around 60 out of 100 people (almost 60%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed with stage 2 mesothelioma. This is not far off the figures for those diagnosed with stage 1 mesothelioma.
When to Contact a Doctor
Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the thin lining that covers the lungs, abdomen, and heart. It is a rare form of cancer, but it is usually fatal.
In stage 2 mesothelioma, the cancer cells have spread to nearby organs or tissues. This can cause symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, weight loss, and fatigue. These symptoms may also be caused by other illnesses. It is vital to see a doctor for diagnosis if any of these are present.
Frequently Asked Questions
Read on to find out the answers to some commonly asked questions regarding Stage 2 Mesothelioma.
What is the main cause of stage 2 mesothelioma?
The cause of stage 2 mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos is a mineral that’s found in rocks and soil. It was once used in a lot of construction materials because it’s strong, fire-resistant, and doesn’t corrode. But it’s also dangerous because it causes cancer when people inhale or swallow the tiny fibers that come off of the material.
How long do you live after being diagnosed with stage 2 mesothelioma?
The average survival time for people with mesothelioma is about one year. However, this is only an average, and many people have survived for more than a decade. The length of time someone survives can depend on the type and stage of mesothelioma they have and the treatments they receive.
What is the latest treatment for stage 2 mesothelioma?
Cryotherapy is a new, non-invasive treatment option for mesothelioma patients. Previously, the only treatment method was surgery and chemotherapy, both of which come with their own risks. Cryotherapy uses freezing temperatures to kill cancerous cells without damaging healthy cells. It’s an effective alternative to traditional treatments that does not require invasive surgery or harsh chemicals.
Your Next Steps
If you have been diagnosed with stage 2 mesothelioma, it is important to understand the condition and the treatment options available. The following are some steps to take if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma:
- Talk to your doctor about your diagnosis and ask for a referral to a specialist.
- Learn about your treatment options and choose one that best suits your needs.
- Get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, and stay active during treatment.
Finally, you can speak to a lawyer to determine if you’re entitled to any compensation for your condition.