Stage 2 Mesothelioma Treatment
Stage 2 malignant mesothelioma treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or new treatments through clinical trials.
The optimal treatment approach for many stage 2 patients is a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Stage 2 mesothelioma is usually able to be surgically removed so that no visible parts of the tumor remain. By undergoing mesothelioma surgery, patients can extend their lives by months or even years and increase the effectiveness of other treatments like chemotherapy.
However, not all stage 2 patients are good candidates for surgery.
Doctors may consider the following factors to decide if a patient can undergo surgery:
- Stage: Small, localized (contained in one area) tumors are easier to surgically remove.
- Cell type: Unfortunately, only epithelioid and mixed/biphasic cell tumors are resectable.
- Location: If a tumor is too close to a vital organ, it may be too dangerous to surgically remove it.
- Patient health: Mesothelioma surgery is often dangerous and very hard on a patient’s body. Doctors will carefully assess a patient’s health to determine how likely they are to survive or properly recover from an operation.
If a patient is a good surgery candidate, they have a few options depending on the type of mesothelioma they have and a doctor’s individual assessment.
Common stage 2 mesothelioma surgery options include:
- Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP)
- Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D)
- Cytoreduction with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC)
While surgery can remove a good deal of the mesothelioma tumors in a patient’s body, cancer cells remain that a surgeon cannot see. However, these cells may be destroyed with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy, cancer-killing medicines that are given intravenously, is a popular treatment option for stage 2 mesothelioma patients, especially combined with surgery.
Doctors may use chemotherapy on stage 2 mesothelioma patients to:
- Stop cancer cells from spreading before, during, or after surgery
- Destroy any cancer cells doctors cannot surgically remove
- Treat patients who are not medically fit for surgery
While mesothelioma chemotherapy and surgery is often an effective treatment combination during stage 2, a three-treatment approach of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation may lead to the best results for both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients.
Radiation therapy uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. This treatment is an important part of the multi-treatment approach many doctors turn to for stage 2 mesothelioma.
Radiation therapy may help treat stage 2 mesothelioma by:
- Killing cells that remain after surgery
- Making surgery easier by shrinking tumors beforehand
- Keeping doctors from accidentally spreading cancer cells during surgery
While a three-treatment approach works well for many stage 2 mesothelioma patients, other treatment options are available for the many who are not able to get standard treatment.
Other Treatment Options
Stage 2 mesothelioma patients are usually good candidates for the most effective standard treatments. However, factors like mesothelioma cell type and individual health may bar even early-stage patients from undergoing such invasive treatments.
For these patients, experimental treatments through clinical trials may be a good option. Clinical trials test the newest medicines and therapies in an effort to improve or expand current treatment options.
Emerging mesothelioma treatments may include:
- Gene therapy
- Photodynamic therapy
Patients should keep the stage of their mesothelioma in mind when searching for clinical trials. Many trials restrict patients by cancer stage.