Mesothelioma patients usually face a challenging prognosis, but treatment is improving life expectancy. The average prognosis is usually 1-2 years, but you can survive for longer with the help of an experienced doctor.
What Is the Prognosis for Mesothelioma?
A prognosis is a doctor’s prediction of a disease’s course or outcome. The average prognosis for mesothelioma is a little more than one year, with variances depending on many factors:
- The type of mesothelioma
- Patient’s gender, health and age
- Stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis
- Whether the patient can receive aggressive treatment
For instance, pleural mesothelioma has an average prognosis of 8-19 months. However, aggressive treatment (such as surgery) can significantly extend survival. Peritoneal mesothelioma has a slightly better average prognosis, and treatment is associated with survival rates of 3-5 years.
Improving Mesothelioma Prognosis
The average prognosis for a person with pleural mesothelioma is 11-20 months, according to a study published on the medical website UpToDate. However, patients treated with radical surgery can beat this prognosis by multiple years. In a study published on the Annals of Thoracic Surgery in 2016, around 50% of pleural mesothelioma patients who underwent extended pleurectomy with decortication lived for at least three years.
The prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma has jumped up incredibly in the past decade. Patients treated with cytoreduction plus heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) often live for multiple years. Around 60% live for three years and nearly half live for five years, according to one study. When the disease is diagnosed during early stages, the prognosis significantly rises. In one study, around 87% of patients diagnosed at Stage 1 survived for five years.
Due to its rarity, the prognosis for pericardial mesothelioma is relatively poor. Patients may be able to outlive their prognosis by finding a specialist and seeking aggressive treatment.
Outlive Your Prognosis With Doctor Match
- We learn about your diagnosis and treatment history.
- We search through our network of top mesothelioma doctors who fit your needs.
- We connect you with the specialist most suited to treat your mesothelioma.
How to Improve Your Mesothelioma Prognosis
Understanding what encompasses a mesothelioma prognosis can help patients make healthcare decisions that improve their life expectancy. Here are three steps on how to improve your prognosis:
- 1Consider your treatment options. Mesothelioma research has come a long way in the past decade, creating more therapies than ever before. Surgery is the most aggressive option, sometimes improving patients’ prognosis by years. If you’re not eligible for surgery, you can still receive chemotherapy, radiation, tumor treating fields and immunotherapy.
- 2Improve your personal health. A healthy immune system is able to manage treatments like chemotherapy and fight off diseases that could complicate recovery. The healthier a patient is when cancer strikes, the better the body will be able to defend itself. However, it’s never too late to begin healthy habits. Patients can actively improve and maintain their personal health through diet and exercise.
- 3Get a second opinion, which is extremely important after receiving a diagnosis. Getting a second opinion can often mean gaining access to treatments that weren’t previously available. Some doctors may not offer certain treatments if they think the risks outweigh the benefits. However, some patients have received treatments that saved their life thanks to a second opinion.
Take Action to Improve Your Prognosis
Patients with mesothelioma have a limited amount of time to take meaningful action against their diagnosis. Since mesothelioma can spread quickly, patients should learn what treatment options are available to them. Only a mesothelioma specialist can provide patients with most beneficial treatment. Specialists are also an essential tool for those who haven’t had a second opinion. Get connected with a specialist using our free Doctor Match program and take control of your prognosis.
Factors Influencing Your Prognosis
Receiving a prognosis for mesothelioma is a difficult experience. Nobody is ready to hear how long they have left to live. However, a prognosis is just the first step and can change with available treatment options. A prognosis is determined by a series of factors described below. A prognosis is an educated guess, not a fact.
There are certain factors that are not under a patient’s control. These factors include:
- Type (pleural, peritoneal, pericardial)
- Histology (cell types)
- Latency period
- Metastasis (spread)
- Additional illnesses
The survival rate for mesothelioma has improved over the past decade as new treatment options have been refined. A survival rate is simply a percentage indicating how many patients survive over a certain amount of time.
Mesothelioma Survival Rates by Year
Survival statistics for more aggressive diseases and cancers are most commonly organized by five-year survival rates — the percentage of patients who survive five years or more. However, survival rates are also measured one, two and three year(s) after patients are diagnosed. Doctors use these statistics to compare the effectiveness of treatments over time.
Survival Rate by Year
Patient Survival Rate by Age
Early detection is the holy grail of the mesothelioma treatment community. One of the most difficult aspects of treating mesothelioma is that it is often diagnosed in later stages. Forty percent of patients that are diagnosed before the age of 45 live five years or longer. This is more than four times the average five-year diagnosis for mesothelioma.
5-Year Survival Rate by Age
Common Questions About Mesothelioma Prognosis
How long do people usually live with mesothelioma?
People with mesothelioma usually live a few months to multiple years. While the average prognosis for all types of mesothelioma is 1-2 years, the type of mesothelioma and treatment a person has are significant factors.
What is the average prognosis for pleural mesothelioma?
The average prognosis for pleural mesothelioma is 8-19 months. This cancer forms near the lungs and can easily spread to this organ, along with lymph nodes. These factors affect the average prognosis, but early detection can lead to long-term survival.
What is the average prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma?
The average prognosis for peritoneal mesothelioma is around two years. Treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma often lengthens the prognosis to 3-5 years. This cancer usually spreads within the abdomen and doesn’t reach lymph nodes. It’s usually easier to treat with surgery.
What are the main factors that can affect your prognosis?
The type and stage of the disease will significantly impact your mesothelioma prognosis. The earlier the stage, the better the expected survival time. Therefore, early detection is vital to your prognosis. Peritoneal mesothelioma also has a better prognosis than pleural mesothelioma. Other factors affecting prognosis are:
- Overall health
How can you improve your mesothelioma prognosis?
Early detection and high-quality medical care are the best ways to improve your prognosis. The earlier you learn you have mesothelioma, the better your prognosis is due to the limited spread of tumors. Receiving care from a specialist can also boost your prognosis due to their experience and access to treatment innovations.