If physicians diagnose you with mesothelioma, one of the first questions you will likely ask is how long you have left. Survival rates are based on the stage of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. The rate is the percentage of patients who live for five years, categorized by how far the cancer has progressed. Here is how long you can live with mesothelioma:
- If your mesothelioma has not spread, there is a 20% chance of living five years.
- If your mesothelioma has spread, there is a 12% chance.
- If your mesothelioma has spread to distant organs, there is an 8% chance.
Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive form of cancer that is proven highly fatal.
Average Life Expectancy
In general, the prognosis for mesothelioma is poor. Most people only find out they have mesothelioma when it is already in an advanced stage—the disease exhibits symptoms late and mimics other conditions, resulting in frequent misdiagnosis and delayed treatments.
Life expectancy also depends on the patient’s type of mesothelioma. According to a study published in F1000 Research, people with pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs, have about 14 months to live. For those with peritoneal or abdominal mesothelioma, they can survive for more than two years or up to 31 months.
These figures will vary with identified risk factors. For instance, patients with stage 1 pleural mesothelioma have an average lifespan of 21 months, and only up to 12 months for those with stage 4. Age also impacts a patient’s chance of recovery—people aged 75 and above have a shorter life expectancy of 10 months, compared to 59 months of younger patients.
Mesothelioma patients who received combined treatments had a more favorable survival period of 23 months versus those who received a single therapy or none at all. Moreover, women with mesothelioma are more likely to live longer than their men because men tend to have higher exposure.
Your prognosis or chance for how long you can live with mesothelioma can improve, but it will depend on numerous factors. Among these, the stage of your cancer and its location will have the most impact, especially with available options for treatment in controlling the disease.
Also, your chance of survival increases with age and overall health. Younger, healthier diagnosed patients have the stamina to handle the aggressive treatments against mesothelioma. Your doctor will factor in the type of mesothelioma cells and whether the disease has recurred—in this case, recovery may be more difficult.
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How Mesothelioma is Treated
Because of its aggressive nature, doctors often treat mesothelioma using a multi-modal approach. Moreover, there is no standard therapy as treatment can vary across conditions. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are three commonly used methods in managing the fatal disease. When combined, they can significantly improve a diagnosed patient’s survival period.
During early-stage mesothelioma, surgery can stop the disease from spreading by removing the affected tissue and surrounding areas. It is also useful in relieving symptoms—fluid build-up in the lungs due to the tumor results in breathing difficulties.
Surgery alone cannot treat mesothelioma—it must be augmented with other therapies. Chemotherapy involves the use of different drugs to eliminate or reduce cancer cells. When given before surgery, it aims to shrink the tumor and minimize the risk of spreading. On the other hand, chemotherapy after surgery ensures there will be no remaining cancer cells, delaying or eliminating the possibility of recurrence.
Cancer specialists also use radiation therapy to treat mesothelioma. It is often the best option for patients with advanced-stage mesothelioma, wherein surgical procedures are no longer possible. Specialists administer radiation therapy externally or internally to ease symptoms like pain, shortness of breath, swallowing difficulties, and bleeding by concentrating high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation on areas with cancer cells. When used following a surgical procedure, it slows down or prevents further cancer growth. Under this type of treatment, however, patients risk damage to nearby healthy tissue.
Find Out if a Lawyer Can Help You
If you believe that you developed mesothelioma because of asbestos exposure, you might have the legal right to claim a settlement from those liable. They were negligent in preventing asbestos from causing long-term harm to you and other people and must give financial compensation for the injury.
Let the lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm build a strong case for you by reviewing the facts and establishing a link between your illness and a third party’s liability. For over 30 years, they have provided legal services to pursue a settlement on behalf of victims of personal injury and wrongful death incidents. Call (800) 794-0444 to know how they can help you.