Mesothelioma Prognosis

A mesothelioma prognosis is how long a patient is expected to live with this cancer. Most patients live for 18 months on average, with 12% of patients living for 5 years or more. That said, veterans with mesothelioma may be able to live for many years if they get treatment. See if we can help you find treatments to improve your mesothelioma prognosis.

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What Is Mesothelioma Prognosis?

A mesothelioma doctor points at a lung X-ray while a husband and wife observe.A mesothelioma prognosis is a doctor’s estimate of how long you will live with this cancer.

There are two parts to a prognosis of mesothelioma: life expectancy and survival rate.

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

Mesothelioma life expectancy is the average amount of time a patient lives after diagnosis. Most mesothelioma patients typically live for 18 months, but some have lived for 5, 10, and even 15 years or more.

Mesothelioma Survival Rates

A mesothelioma survival rate measures your odds of long-term survival by looking at how long other patients have lived. Typically, 12% of patients are still alive 5 years after a mesothelioma diagnosis, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

If you or a U.S. veteran with mesothelioma that you love is worried about your prognosis, the Mesothelioma Veterans Center can help.

Use our Doctor Match to find a specialist near you today, to improve your prognosis.

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Prognosis by Mesothelioma Type

There are four types of mesothelioma and each type has a different prognosis. This is because every type is treated differently and doctors have developed more effective treatments for some types than others.

Find the average mesothelioma prognosis for the type of cancer that you have below.

Pleural Mesothelioma Prognosis

Pleural mesothelioma patients can live for about 3 years with aggressive surgeries. The overall life expectancy is 18 months.

3 Years
3 Years
Pleural mesothelioma average life expectancy

The 5-year survival rate for pleural mesothelioma is 24% if it’s caught before it spreads, according to the American Cancer Society. The overall 5-year survival rate is 12%.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis

Thanks to effective treatments, peritoneal mesothelioma patients often have a very good prognosis. Peritoneal mesothelioma patients can live for over 4 years on average if they receive a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.

4+ Years
4+ Years
Peritoneal mesothelioma average life expectancy

Patients who get this treatment combination have a 5-year survival rate of 47%, so about half are still alive 5 years later.

Contact us now to find ways to improve your malignant peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Prognosis

Pericardial mesothelioma has the worst prognosis of any type.

The median life expectancy for pericardial mesothelioma is between 2-6 months. The 2-year survival rate is 12.2%, according to a 2022 Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery report.

Testicular Mesothelioma Prognosis

Patients with testicular mesothelioma can expect to live for 46.7 months on average if they are diagnosed early and undergo surgery.

Half of all testicular mesothelioma patients are still alive 5 years after diagnosis, as noted in a recent Urology report.

Prognosis of Mesothelioma by Stage

Malignant pleural mesothelioma has four stages. Patients whose cancer is caught in the early stages (1 and 2) have a better prognosis since the tumors haven’t had a chance to spread past the pleura (lining of the lungs).

The advanced stages (3 and 4) have a less favorable mesothelioma prognosis due to cancer metastasis (spread), but there is still a chance of long-term survival.

Stage 1 Mesothelioma Prognosis

Stage 1 patients typically have a very good mesothelioma prognosis because the cancer hasn’t spread from where it started. As a result, doctors can often destroy all visible tumors with aggressive treatments.

Patients with stage 1 mesothelioma live for 21 months on average. The 2-year survival rate for these patients is 39% when treated with surgery, according to a 2023 review of the National Cancer Database (NCDB).

Stage 2 Mesothelioma Prognosis

Stage 2 mesothelioma has a good prognosis. The cancer has just started to spread, but doctors can use treatments like surgery to remove tumors and help patients live longer.

Stage 2 patients have an average life expectancy of 19 months, with 39% living for 2 years after surgery.

Stage 3 Mesothelioma Prognosis

Patients with stage 3 mesothelioma often have a good prognosis if doctors are able to remove cancer tumors using surgery. This may or may not be possible depending on how far the cancer has spread.

Stage 3 mesothelioma patients who received surgery had a 2-year survival rate of 41%, according to the NCDB review. The average life expectancy of these patients is 16 months.

Stage 4 Mesothelioma Prognosis

Stage 4 mesothelioma has the least favorable prognosis of all stages as the cancer has spread through the body to other major organs, making it harder to treat.

Patients who can get surgery typically live for a year after diagnosis. The 2-year survival rate for stage 4 mesothelioma patients treated with surgery is 31%.

Do not give up hope if you have stage 4 mesothelioma. We can help you find top mesothelioma doctors who may be able to improve your prognosis and give you more time to spend with your family.

Prognosis for Mesothelioma by Cell Type

Mesothelioma tumors are made up of different types of cells. Which cells are present can impact prognosis, as some mesothelioma cell types respond better to treatment. Find the mesothelioma prognosis for your cell type below.

Epithelioid Mesothelioma Prognosis

Epithelioid mesothelioma has the best prognosis of all mesothelioma cell types as it’s the easiest to treat. Epithelioid patients have a life expectancy of 14 months.

Epithelioid mesothelioma patients have a 2-year survival rate of 45% when treated with surgery, according to a 2023 NCDB review.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Prognosis

Patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma often face a poor prognosis since these cells spread quickly, making tumors harder to treat.

The life expectancy for patients with sarcomatoid cells is 4 months. The NCDB review found that only 15% of sarcomatoid patients who underwent surgery were alive 2 years later.

Biphasic Mesothelioma Prognosis

Biphasic mesothelioma tumors are made up of both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells. They’re easier to treat if there are more epithelioid cells present.

Biphasic patients live for 10 months on average, as noted by researchers who studied the National Mesothelioma Tumor Bank. The 2-year survival rate with surgery is 22%, according to the NCDB review.

The Mesothelioma Veterans Center has on-staff nurses who can help you find doctors and resources to improve your prognosis.

Amy Fair
Amy FairRegistered Nurse
20+ years helping mesothelioma victims

“Answering patient questions, explaining options, and just listening to a patient and their loved one is the number one reason why I’m here."

Contact our team now to get help.

How Treatments Impact Mesothelioma Prognosis

A mesothelioma specialist going over something on a tablet with a patient.Getting treatment is the best way to improve your mesothelioma prognosis, since it allows doctors to destroy or remove cancer tumors within your body.

Thanks to mesothelioma treatment, some patients have outlived their prognosis by months or even years. Learn about treatments that might be able to help you improve your mesothelioma prognosis below.


Getting mesothelioma surgery is often key to improving prognosis. Different surgeries allow doctors to remove cancer tumors from the body so patients can live longer.

Top surgeries to improve mesothelioma prognosis include:

  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP): Used to treat pleural mesothelioma, doctors remove the lung closest to the cancer, the pleura, and cancer tumors. Patients who get an EPP and other treatments live for 35.6 months on average and have a 5-year survival rate of 24%.
  • Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D): Also used to treat pleural mesothelioma, doctors take out the pleura and cancer tumors but keep both lungs intact. The average life expectancy is 34 months and the 5-year survival rate is 29%, as noted by a 2021 Journal of Thoracic Disease report.
  • Cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC: Used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma, doctors remove tumors from the abdomen lining and then bathe the surgery site in warm chemotherapy. The 5-year survival rate is 47%, and patients live for 53 months on average.

Other Treatments to Improve Prognosis of Mesothelioma

Besides surgery, doctors can also recommend other treatments that may help mesothelioma patients live longer.

Key treatments to improve prognosis include:

  • Chemotherapy: Medications break up cancer tumors and kill cells. Pleural patients who received chemotherapy lived for 14 months on average and had a 2-year survival rate of 29%, according to the 2023 NCDB review.
  • Radiation: Beams of energy shrink cancer tumors. The 2023 NCDB study found that pleural patients had a 2-year survival rate of 26% and average life span of 1 year when treated with radiation.
  • Immunotherapy: These medications boost the body’s immune response to cancer. Immunotherapy helped mesothelioma patients live for an average of 18.1 months in a 2020 study. The 2-year survival rate was 41%.
  • Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields): Electrical pads attached to the chest stop cancer cells from dividing. Pleural patients treated with TTFields and chemotherapy lived for over 18 months on average, with a 2-year survival rate of 42%, in a recent study.
  • Clinical trials: These tests see how new treatments can improve prognosis. For example, an ongoing study is looking at RSO-021, an antibody that can help shrink mesothelioma tumors.

Learn about mesothelioma treatment options that may help you live longer in our Free Veterans Packet.

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Mesothelioma Prognosis Without Treatment

The prognosis for mesothelioma patients who do not undergo cancer treatment is not as favorable.

Pleural mesothelioma patients only live 4-12 months without treatment, according to Cancer Therapy Advisor.

Peritoneal mesothelioma patients who don’t get treated typically have 6-12 months to live, as noted by a Translational Lung Cancer Research study.

You are highly encouraged to seek treatment to help improve your mesothelioma prognosis.

Remission, Recurrence, and Prognosis for Mesothelioma

Two factors can impact prognosis after treatment: remission and recurrence.

Mesothelioma remission means the cancer is no longer growing, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Patients have a better prognosis if their cancer enters remission. Some patients could enter remission after treatment.

Mesothelioma recurrence is when the cancer comes back after a period of remission. Many patients who enter remission experience recurrence. Doctors can recommend treatments to improve prognosis if recurrence occurs.

“At the first sign of tumor recurrence, we are able to utilize one of a number of treatments, such as radiation, chemo­therapy, and cryoablation, to attack it.”

– Dr. Robert Cameron, Mesothelioma Specialist

Phillip Prokop, a U.S. Army veteran with pleural mesothelioma, had his cancer stopped in its tracks after getting treatments from Dr. Cameron.

Diagnosed in 2015, Phillip is still alive today and gets a clean bill of health at each follow-up visit.

We can help you find top doctors who may be able to improve your prognosis. Call (877) 450-8973 to find out your eligibility.

Demographic Factors Affecting Prognosis

Demographic factors all play a role in a mesothelioma patient’s prognosis.

These factors include:

  • Age: A 2023 World Conference on Lung Cancer presentation found that older age was linked to a poorer prognosis. Patients 65 or older have a 7.7% 5-year survival rate while those 50 and younger have a 42.1% 5-year survival rate, as noted by the National Cancer Institute SEER program.
  • Race: Most mesothelioma patients are white, but they don’t have the best prognosis. Black people have a 14% 5-year survival rate, white and Hispanic people have roughly an 11% 5-year survival, and Asian people or Pacific Islanders have a 9% 5-year survival, according to SEER data.
  • Sex: Women tend to have a better prognosis than men. The SEER program found that the 5-year survival rate of women with mesothelioma was 18.2%. The average 5-year survival rate for men was 9.1%.

U.S. Veterans Who Beat Their Mesothelioma Prognosis

U.S. veterans bravely put their lives on the line to fight for our country — and, after developing mesothelioma, veterans must fight a new battle.

Learn about veterans who outlived their prognosis to become long-term survivors below.

Art Putt

Arthur “Art” Putt was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2018, decades after his service in both the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. Doctors initially gave Art only 6-12 months to live.

After getting treatments like chemotherapy and immunotherapy, changing his diet, and exploring natural therapies, Art stabilized and he is still alive today.

“Initially, they told him he probably had about six months to a year. That was four years ago. He doesn’t look like somebody that’s been fighting cancer for four years.”

– Jan Putt, wife of Art Putt, 2022

Frank Curre

U.S. Navy veteran Frank Curre was one of the last survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack that took place on December 7, 1941. In his late 80s, Frank was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Frank decided against treatment but lived longer than expected. He passed away on the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks — more than a year after his diagnosis. Most mesothelioma patients who don’t get treated die in a year or less.

Ernie Conry

U.S. Army veteran Ernie Conry was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma after complaining of symptoms for several years.

Ernie sought treatments including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery to live longer. Thanks to these treatments, Ernie survived for more than 7 years — much longer than the average pleural mesothelioma prognosis.

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Ways to Improve Mesothelioma Prognosis

A doctor speaks with an older male patient

If you or a U.S. veteran you love is fighting mesothelioma, the Mesothelioma Veterans Center can help you find options that might improve your prognosis.

A prognosis of mesothelioma can feel devastating, but you can take the power back and possibly live longer.

Here are 3 tips to improve your prognosis:

  1. Connect with us: We have mesothelioma nurses and patient advocates on staff who can help you find top doctors and treatments. Get in touch with us now.
  2. Find care through the VA: If you’re a U.S. veteran, you might qualify for free or low-cost care from top oncologists (cancer doctors) with VA health care. We can help you file for VA health care benefits.
  3. Get support: A mesothelioma prognosis can bring a lot of uncertainty. Support from family, nurses, clergy, and more can help you feel less alone.

The Mesothelioma Veterans Center stands ready to help you and U.S. veterans you love access the best doctors, cancer centers, and VA benefits right now — all of which may be able to help improve a prognosis.

Use our Doctor Match to find the best specialist now.

FAQs About Malignant Mesothelioma Prognosis

What is the prognosis for mesothelioma?

The average prognosis for mesothelioma is 18 months, with 12% of patients still alive 5 years after diagnosis.

That said, you could live much longer depending on your diagnosis and which treatments you receive. Some mesothelioma patients have lived for 15 years or more — much longer than the average prognosis.

How long do you live after being diagnosed with mesothelioma?

The average mesothelioma life expectancy is 18 months after a diagnosis. However, it may be possible for you to live longer by getting treatment.

Your doctor can tell you how long you can expect to live and which treatments you qualify for.

What are the odds of beating mesothelioma?

Though the odds are low, it may be possible for you to beat mesothelioma or outlive your prognosis.

Remember, some mesothelioma patients have lived for 15 years or more with this cancer by getting top treatments — despite high mortality rates.

Is mesothelioma cancer terminal?

Mesothelioma cancer is usually terminal, but you may be able to live many years after a diagnosis. For example, one woman lived for 15 years after being diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma.

By undergoing many treatments, she was able to live cancer-free until her death from other causes — greatly outliving the typical peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis of around 4 years.

What is the longest-living person with mesothelioma?

Paul Kraus is the longest-living mesothelioma patient. Paul was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 1997 and given less than half a year to live.

But, Paul is still alive as of 2023 — proving that a prognosis of mesothelioma can change over time for the better.

What is the mesothelioma prognosis stage 4?

The average stage 4 mesothelioma prognosis is poor, with patients living 1 year on average. The 2-year survival rate is 31%. But, you may be able to live longer if you’re eligible for aggressive treatments.

Veterans Support Team
Todd Gersten, MD PhotoReviewed by:Todd Gersten, MD

Double Board-Certified Oncologist and Hematologist

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Todd Gersten, MD, is a double board-certified medical oncologist and hematologist specializing in general adult oncology and hematologic disease. He is a physician partner with the Florida Cancer Specialists and practices in Wellington, Florida.

Dr. Todd Gersten is an independently paid medical reviewer.

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.

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