Can You Survive Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a fatal cancer diagnosis, meaning patients typically pass away from it. Although the aggressive form of cancer has an average survival rate of 12 months, new and advancing treatment options can extend their lives. While there is no cure for mesothelioma, some patients live well beyond the average survival rates.
How Long Do You Live With Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma patients typically survive at least a year following a diagnosis. A mesothelioma survival rate is the percentage of patients who live five years following their diagnosis. Mesothelioma resides on different sites around the body. If a patient has pleural mesothelioma, the cancer is found in their chest. If a patient has peritoneal mesothelioma, the cancer is found in their abdomen. In rare cases, mesothelioma can be found in the thoracic cavity or in the testes.
Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma tend to live longer than those with pleural mesothelioma. The 5-year survival rate for mesothelioma is about 12% for pleural mesothelioma patients. Peritoneal mesothelioma survival rates are significantly better, with 52% of patients living at least five years.
Life expectancy, a term related to survival rate, is the average time a person may live with mesothelioma. Individual factors, including age, gender, stage of the disease, cell type, and overall health often determine the life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient. Following a mesothelioma diagnosis, mesothelioma doctors can determine a patient’s estimated life expectancy of a patient, which is usually 1-to-5 years.
Pleural Mesothelioma Survival Rates
- 1 year – 73%
- 3 years – 23%
- 5 years – 12%
- 10 years – 4.7%
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival Rates
- 1 year – 92%
- 3 years – 74%
- 5 years – 52%
- 10 years – 39%
Is Mesothelioma Curable?
Mesothelioma is a fatal disease. Even if caught early, mesothelioma is currently not curable. In very rare cases, mesothelioma can go into remission partially, meaning the cancer is still present but not active. Treatment options are available to extend a patient’s life and make side effects more manageable.
Mesothelioma Survival Rates With Treatment
Certain treatment options are associated with improved survival rates, including the combination of surgery with chemotherapy. One technique is called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). During the procedure, doctors first remove pleural tumors and cancerous tissue with surgery, followed by the application of heated chemotherapy directly to the site. This advanced procedure can improve survival rates among mesothelioma patients. Many mesothelioma patients who undergo this procedure live longer than five years.
Mesothelioma Survival Rates Without Treatment
Some life-extending treatment options can be too invasive for certain patients. Without qualifying for procedures like HIPEC, patients in later stages can undergo non-curative treatments designed to make side effects less intense. These palliative treatments, including pain medication, manage mesothelioma symptoms near death.
Without treatment, survival rates and the life expectancy of mesothelioma patients depend upon other prognostic factors, including the patient’s overall health, age of onset, and gender. Younger and female mesothelioma patients generally have a more favorable life expectancy. Patients in earlier stages of mesothelioma can live up to two years without treatment. The average life expectancy without treatment for late-stage patients is about six to eight months.
What To Do If You Have Malignant Mesothelioma
A patient may find out they have mesothelioma after undergoing various diagnosis procedures, including imaging tests and cell biopsies. Some emerging diagnosis options, including blood tests, can help diagnose mesothelioma. After you receive a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may be skeptical about the treatment options.
Mesothelioma tends to spread fast but is different, but outcomes vary among each patient. Often, imaging tests such as CT scans can track how fast it spreads. Your doctor will work with you to develop the best treatment plan for your individual mesothelioma treatment journey. Before undergoing intense treatments, such as radiation therapy or surgery, doctors often encourage patients into getting a second opinion.
A team of cancer care professionals, including dietitians, physical therapists, and counselors are widely available to help patients through complementary therapies. While your cancer care team develops a treatment plan over the course of several months following a diagnosis, consider making lifestyle changes in favor of your immune system. Eating a proper diet and exercising each day can help build immunity and fight disease. Of course, eating healthy and moving your body can be tough as a cancer patient.
Treatment Options For Mesothelioma Patients
Mesothelioma is fatal in most cases, but treatment methods and medications are available to improve a prognosis. Patients may receive several rounds of a single form of treatment or a combination of multiple methods, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy.
Paying For Mesothelioma Treatment
Treating cancer costs a lot of money. Without good health insurance, the costs of treatment can fall on the shoulders of cancer patients and result in thousands of dollars of medical debt. To prevent patients from burning through their savings or maxing out credit cards, financial assistance is available through several sources. Additionally, a mesothelioma patient may be eligible for free treatment through clinical trials held at any of the top medical centers for mesothelioma.
Legal Compensation and Asbestos Lawsuit Payouts
Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure for most people happened at their occupation or while serving in the military. As a result of corporate negligence, you may have rights to legal financial assistance if you were diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease.
Legal compensation options include workers’ compensation, veterans’ benefits, or personal injury lawsuits. Family members of a mesothelioma patient who passes away can receive additional funding through a wrongful death claim.