Stages of Mesothelioma Series
Whereas during the first stage of mesothelioma, the cancer is limited to the original tumor growth, during stage two, the cancer will spread to other nearby areas. In most cases, mesothelioma forms within the lining of the lungs. This particular form of the cancer, which is known as pleural mesothelioma, is most common among individuals who have been exposed to asbestos.
As the cancer progresses during stage two, the growth will often spread to areas such as the chest wall, the lymph nodes, the lining of the diaphragm, or other nearby areas of the chest. During this stage of mesothelioma, patients do begin to experience noticeable symptoms. When diagnosed with stage two mesothelioma, there are typically surgical options still available that can improve the patient’s prognosis.
Common Signs and Symptoms Experienced During Stage Two
It is during stage two that many people with mesothelioma first begin to notice symptoms developing. The symptoms are often quite mild, worsening as the cancer progresses. The initial signs of the illness are generally:
- Pain in the chest or abdominal
- Unexpected weight loss
- Changes in bowel habits
- Coughing and difficulty breathing
Anyone who has a previous exposure to asbestos, and is at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma, should visit a physician for an examination if any of these symptoms are present.
Prognosis of Stage Two Mesothelioma
During stage two, the prognosis of patients with mesothelioma remain higher than average. The cancer has yet to progress and spread throughout many areas of the body, and aggressive treatments can still be applied in order to potentially greatly increase life expectancy. While the median life expectancy of patients with mesothelioma decreases significantly once stage two has been reached, there have been stage two patients that have survived for years following their diagnosis.
Stage Two Treatment Options
Once mesothelioma has progressed to stage two, this means that the cancer growth has spread away from the point of origin. The cancer is no longer confined to one tumor growth, but it has not yet become widespread throughout the body. Because the cancer is still somewhat localized to the original tumor and nearby lymph nodes, organs, or the chest wall, it is still possible for a surgical procedure to be implemented to successfully remove all of the cancer.
If the patient is an eligible candidate for surgery, the procedure will typically be accompanied or followed by rounds of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of both of these treatments. If the cancer has progressed in a way that makes surgery an unsafe option for the patient, the doctors may rely completely upon radiation therapy and chemotherapy to treat the condition.
Patients who suffer from pleural mesothelioma, which most commonly affects individuals who have been exposed to asbestos, may receive a treatment known as extrapleural pneumonectomy. During this surgical procedure, the entire affected lung is removed. If only a small portion of the lung has been affected, a less invasive surgery, known as a pleurectomy, can be completed, during which only a small portion of the lung and chest wall are removed.
Pursuing Mesothelioma Treatments as Soon as Possible
It is essential that stage two mesothelioma patients, who are suitable candidates for treatments, begin treatment plans as early as possible, before the cancer progresses to more areas of the body. A doctor should be consulted at the first signs of illness in order to increase the efficacy of the treatment efforts, and to potentially increase life expectancy. Individuals with a history of asbestos exposure should receive thorough examinations regularly in order to diagnose and begin addressing the cancer in the earliest stages.
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