- What’s the Survival Rate for Mesothelioma?
- Factors Affecting Prognosis
- What Does Recent Research Say?
- How Can I Manage My Prognosis?
Each patient is unique. Because every patient has a different medical history, age and diagnosis, a doctor’s prognosis needs to be based on an individual evaluation.
Mesothelioma Life Expectancy for Each Stage
Prognosis for each Stage
Like any serious disease, an early diagnosis and overall patient health are very important factors. The type of mesothelioma cancer you have, your sex, and age, even the cell structure in the cancer cells can also have an impact, as well as the stage that the disease is in.
Stage 1 is considered localized and is divided into two stages, 1A and 1B, according to Cancer.gov:
- Stage 1A is found in one side of the chest wall lining and may also be found in the chest cavity between the lungs and/or the lining that covers the diaphragm. Cancer has not spread to the lining that covers the lung.
- Stage 1B is found in one side of the chest wall lining and the lining that covers the lung. Cancer may also be found in the lining of the chest cavity between the lungs and/or the lining that covers the diaphragm.
Stage 2 cancer is found in one side of the chest, in the the lining of the chest cavity between the lungs, the lining that covers the diaphragm, and the lining that covers the lung. Cancer has spread into one or both of the diaphragm muscle and lung.
Prognosis for Early Diagnosis
Early diagnosis (Stages 1 and 2) gives your doctors a much better chance to successfully treat the disease. The American Cancer Society reports that the median (mid-range) survival for patients in the early stages of pleural mesothelioma (which makes up 75 percent of all cases) is for 21 months after their diagnosis. Historically, half the patients lived longer than 21 months, and half lived for less.
Early diagnosis means getting treated sooner. People with a history of exposure to asbestos should be looking for possible symptoms. They are similar to bad colds, flu, and stomach viruses, like coughing up blood, changes in bowel movements, and constantly feeling tired or short of breath. If these symptoms don’t go away after a few days, see your doctor.
There are two alternatives for this stage:
- Cancer is found in one side of the chest in the lining of the chest wall or it may have spread to the lining of the chest cavity between the lungs; the diaphragm muscle; the lining that covers the lung; the lining that covers the diaphragm; the lung. Cancer has spread to lymph nodes where the lung joins the bronchus, along the trachea and esophagus, between the lung and diaphragm, or below the trachea.
- Cancer is found in one side of the chest wall lining, the chest cavity lining between the lungs, and the lining of the diaphragm and lungs. Cancer has spread to one or more of the tissue between the ribs and the chest wall lining; soft tissues of the chest wall; the pericardium (heart sac); and the fatty tissue between the lungs.
Cancer may have spread to lymph nodes where the lung joins the bronchus, along the trachea and esophagus, between the lung and diaphragm, or below the trachea.
Stage 4 cancer can’t be removed by surgery and is found in one or both sides of the body. Cancer may have spread to lymph nodes anywhere in the chest or above the collarbone. Cancer has spread in one or more of the following ways:
- Through the diaphragm into the peritoneum (the thin layer of tissue that lines the abdomen and covers most of the organs in the abdomen)
- Into the sac around the heart or into the heart muscle
- Into the spine
- To the chest wall and may be found in the rib
- To the tissue lining the chest on the opposite side of the body as the tumor
- Into the organs in the center of the chest cavity
- To distant parts of the body such as the brain, spine, thyroid, or prostate
Prognosis for Late Diagnosis
Stages 3 and 4 are comparatively different from one another. For stage III, if a patient responds well to the surgery and post-surgery therapies, they can live longer than the average of one year. Patients who have curative surgery usually live longer than 16 months. Patients with lymph node involvement typically live 13 to 17 months.
Stage 4 median survival is 12 months, but positive responses to treatment can extend survival. The cancer is likely to continue to spread, possibly leading to respiratory failure or heart failure if tumors spread to the heart.
Since mesothelioma is considered heterogeneous, survival statistics cannot predict how long someone with mesothelioma will live.