According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed with mesothelioma is 20% and below, largely depending on the specific nature of each case.
Mesothelioma is a very rare and serious form of cancer that affects the lining of the chest and abdominal region. This disease has been linked to contact with the carcinogen asbestos, which is a common fiber in building materials and other products. If you or someone you love is suffering from mesothelioma, a medical professional will be able to assess your condition and estimate how long you live after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
There are several factors that contribute to the lifespan of a person who is diagnosed with mesothelioma. The earlier the disease is detected, the more effective treatment might be, and the longer you may live after diagnosis. Additionally, some treatment options such as surgery to remove cancerous tissue may only be an option if the disease has not spread to different regions of the body. If cancer has spread away from a localized region, surgery may not be effective, and life expectancy could be reduced.
Risk Factors and Potential Causes of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a very rare disease. While medical experts and researchers are constantly learning more about mesothelioma, there are several risk factors that could increase the likelihood of this disease, according to Mayo Clinic:
- Exposure to asbestos, radon, or other toxic carcinogens
- Living with someone exposed to asbestos
- Family history of mesothelioma
While you cannot change your genetic predisposition to certain types of cancer, there are factors within your control that can decrease risk. If you are a smoker, quitting at any age can reduce risk. There also is evidence to suggest that a healthy diet and regular exercise may reduce the risk of different types of lung cancer.
Asbestos exposure has also been directly linked to mesothelioma. Avoiding older buildings where asbestos could have been used in building materials, like insulation and roofing, can reduce your chances of being exposed to this dangerous substance.
The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed annually. In comparison to lung cancer cases, which are generally in excess of 200,000 annually, it is easy to see how rare mesothelioma truly is. Women are less likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma than men, and data from the American Cancer Society also suggests that age and ethnicity can also increase risk.
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The options available to treat mesothelioma are also an important factor in determining life expectancy. Only a medical professional can estimate how long you live after being diagnosed with mesothelioma and recommend treatment options. Even doctors specializing in mesothelioma will not be able to give an exact timeframe for life after diagnosis, but rather an estimate based on the severity of the cancer and numerous other factors.
Treatment for cancers like mesothelioma is approached with both standard methods, which are proven to be effective and more experimental methods in some cases. The standard treatments include surgery to remove cancerous tissue, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy utilized to target and destroy cancerous cells. Experimental methods could include drugs that are still in trial phases or alternative medicine.
Sometimes people suffering from late-stage mesothelioma opt for an approach that is more focused on pain relief and comfort than long-term survival. Every person suffering from a serious disease like mesothelioma has the right to decide on their desired treatment approach under the guidance of medical professionals, as the aggressiveness of treatment can affect how long you might live.
What to Do if You Think You Have Mesothelioma
If you are showing signs of lung disease or think you may have mesothelioma, you should seek immediate help from a medical professional. Only a doctor or specialist will be able to accurately diagnose your condition through a variety of tests, develop a treatment strategy that is specific to you, and determine how long you might live after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
It is always a possibility that a third party contributed to the development of mesothelioma or impaired your ability to be treated effectively. If you were unknowingly exposed to asbestos, misdiagnosed, or improperly treated, you could be able to take legal action and seek financial compensation. If you are interested in learning more about your legal options during this difficult time, call (800) 794-0444 to speak with a team member at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.