Veterans and Mesothelioma Recovery

3 Min Read

an older U.S. veteran in uniform salutes the American flag

Mesothelioma recovery requires an early diagnosis, the right treatments, and luck. Other people with mesothelioma have gone on to live longer than expected and even recover thanks to all three. Below, veterans can learn about treatment options that may help them recover and find examples of mesothelioma survivors.

Is Mesothelioma Recovery Possible?

Yes. Mesothelioma is medically considered to be a terminal disease. However, some patients are able to achieve remission or disease stability, where it won’t spread to other parts of the body.

To recover from mesothelioma, you’ll need:

  • A proper diagnosis: Getting correctly diagnosed with mesothelioma early on is critical to recovery. Diagnosing the cancer before it has spread throughout the body means you may have access to more treatment options that can help you live longer.
  • Mesothelioma treatments: You'll need to get the right treatments if you want to achieve long-term survival. Mesothelioma treatments will destroy as much of the cancer as possible. Without treatment it is usually impossible to recover from mesothelioma.
  • Luck: Even with the best treatments and an early diagnosis, many people still die from mesothelioma. In most cases, treatments help to extend a patient’s life span but don’t lead to recovery.

Learn more about mesothelioma recovery options with our free veterans packet.

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Examples of Those Who Recovered from Mesothelioma


Jim was a U.S. Navy veteran who served from 1973 to 1993. As a technician, Jim worked in ship engine and boiler rooms, ensuring that the valves, pumps, and engines were working like they were supposed to.

Unfortunately, Jim was exposed to asbestos fibers during his service and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009. Doctors initially told Jim that he only had a few months to live.

Jim and his wife immediately sought out mesothelioma treatments with the help of their legal team. These treatments helped to extend Jim’s life expectancy. He passed away 19 months after his initial diagnosis, many months longer than doctors had expected.


Walter worked as a boiler tender and a fireman for the U.S. Navy from 1954 to 1973. He performed maintenance and repairs in engine rooms for several vessels in the Navy. In the process, he was exposed to deadly asbestos fibers.

In 2017, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in his right lung. With medical and legal help, Walter lived for two and a half years with mesothelioma before he passed away in late 2019.

Recovering from Mesothelioma Treatments

While recovering from mesothelioma is possible, the treatments can be taxing on the body. It can take several weeks to recover from some of the most intensive forms of treatment.

Learn more about key treatments and recovering from them below.

Cytoreduction With HIPEC
Cytoreduction with HIPEC is a treatment where cancerous tumors are removed from the abdominal cavity through surgery. It is generally used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma.

This treatment consists of two parts. First, doctors perform abdominal surgery to remove all visible cancer tumors. Then, the abdominal cavity is then treated with hot chemotherapy. Patients stay in the hospital for 27 days on average following this treatment.

Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP)
Extrapleural pneumonectomy involves the removal of a lung and portions of the lining of the lungs and heart. It also may involve the removal of the diaphragm.

This surgery is used to treat pleural mesothelioma and patients typically stay in the hospital for two weeks following the surgery. They’ll then need six to eight weeks of recovery at home.

Since a lung is being removed, the surgery is rather intense. Thus, it takes longer for patients to recover from this surgery than a pleurectomy with decortication, another surgery commonly used to treat pleural mesothelioma.

Pleurectomy With Decortication (P/D)
A pleurectomy with decortication removes the lining of the lungs and any cancerous tumors that can be seen with the naked eye. Notably, the lung closest to the cancer is not removed.

This is surgery used to treat pleural mesothelioma. Since both lungs are spared, patients can expect shorter hospital stays and at-home recovery times when compared to an EPP.

Learn More About Mesothelioma Recovery

With an accurate diagnosis and proper medical treatment, it may be possible for you or your loved ones to recover from mesothelioma. You can access treatment options — and ways to afford them — from both the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and mesothelioma lawyers.

You can get a free veterans packet to learn more about your treatment options and how to recover from mesothelioma. Our team can help you get started on the road to recovery.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

  1. Hyperarts, Rob Mayfield -. “Extrapleural Pneumonectomy.” Department of Surgery - Extrapleural Pneumonectomy,
  2. Service, Wire. “The Curmudgeon in the Woods.” The Daily World, The Daily World, 25 Sept. 2018,