A mesothelioma prognosis describes the expected outcome of a patient’s cancer. Mesothelioma generally has a poor prognosis, but treatments are helping more people live longer. Thankfully, veterans with mesothelioma may be able to access treatment from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or private doctors to improve their prognosis.
What Is the Prognosis for Mesothelioma?
A malignant mesothelioma prognosis is how doctors describe the expected health outcomes after someone is diagnosed. A prognosis takes two main factors into account: life expectancy and survival rate.
- Mesothelioma life expectancy is the average length of time a patient can expect to live after their diagnosis. The average life expectancy is 12-21 months for patients with pleural mesothelioma and over 60 months for those with peritoneal mesothelioma.
- Mesothelioma survival rates measure the percentage of patients still alive after a specified length of time. The 1-year survival rate is 73.1% for pleural mesothelioma and 91.6% for peritoneal mesothelioma..
Improving Mesothelioma Prognosis
Many patients feel discouraged by their prognosis, as mesothelioma is highly aggressive and there is no known cure. However, a mesothelioma prognosis is not set in stone.
In fact, some patients who were originally given a poor prognosis went on to live for many months or years longer than expected.
Here are some tips to improve your mesothelioma prognosis:
Work with a mesothelioma specialist
Oncologists (cancer doctors) across the country specialize in treating different forms of this cancer. Some of these doctors created groundbreaking treatments to help patients live longer. Working with these experts offers you the best chance of improving your prognosis. Several specialists have partnered with the VA to provide treatments to veterans with mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma surgeries allow doctors to remove all visible traces of the cancer, preventing it from spreading. While not every patient will qualify — as the side effects can be risky — most mesothelioma specialists agree that surgeries offer the best chance to improve lifespan.
A mesothelioma diagnosis can bring a lot of stress and uncertainty to you and your loved ones. With help from friends, extended family, Veterans Service Officers (VSOs), and even mesothelioma attorneys, you can get the emotional and financial support needed to battle this cancer.
Factors That Determine Mesothelioma Prognosis
A patient’s individual traits play a major role in determining their prognosis.
Key prognostic factors include:
- Mesothelioma location
- Cell type
- Treatment options
- Patient history
Some mesothelioma types have a better prognosis than others. For example, peritoneal mesothelioma is easier to treat than pleural and thus it has a better prognosis. Thankfully, there are treatment options to help patients live longer no matter what type of mesothelioma they have.
Get more information about the factors that affect prognosis in our free mesothelioma packet made for veterans.
Get information on:
- Treatment Options
- Mesothelioma Specialists
- Veterans Benefits
Pleural Mesothelioma Prognosis
Pleural mesothelioma, which develops in the lining of the lungs, is often diagnosed in its later stages. A late mesothelioma diagnosis makes surgery a less likely option, which means the patient will usually have a poor prognosis.
Pleural Mesothelioma Prognosis by Stage
Malignant pleural mesothelioma has 4 stages. Patients in early stages (1 and 2) have a better prognosis as the cancer is still largely contained to the lung linings.
Those in advanced stages (3 and 4) have a worse prognosis as the cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes and throughout the body.
|Stage||Median Life Expectancy
|Stage 1||21 months|
|Stage 2||19 months
|Stage 3||16 months
|Stage 4||12 months
Source: Frontiers in Oncology, 2018