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Mesothelioma Survival Rate

In any cancer diagnosis, survival rates are a measurable analysis of the percentage of people in a group who survive a certain type of cancer after a given period of time. In a mesothelioma diagnosis, physicians use survival rates as an important component to the patient’s overall diagnosis.

While the overall survival rates for mesothelioma patients are generally low -- about 40 percent of patients survive one year -- these rates are continually changing. Advances in medical technology and improvements in overall patient health are contributing to longer survival rates. Even though your doctor may tell you what your survival rate is expected to be, it is just an educated guess and doesn’t mean that’s how long you will live. Other factors contribute to your overall prognosis.

Facts and Statistics

Mesothelioma is a very serious and life-threatening disease, which makes many of the statistics about the disease are not very encouraging. However, there are many hopeful and positive aspects of the disease:

  • The average survival time for mesothelioma patients is between 4 and 18 months, but some people live much longer.
  • Between five and 10 percent of all mesothelioma patients live at least five years after their cancer is detected.
  • Younger patients often have a better diagnosis and longer survival rates.
  • Patients who are diagnosed in the earlier stages of the disease can often be treated with surgery, which is often the best option for eliminating mesothelioma.

Factors that Influence Survival Rates

A hallmark of mesothelioma is its long latency period -- the disease lingers for decades before the first symptoms appear. Often, by that time it has spread to later stages, making treatment complex. However, disease stage is just one piece of the puzzle for determining survival rates. When determining any particular survival rate, physicians look at a number of contributing factors:

Age

Younger, healthier patients often have better survival rates. According to recent information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), patients age 75 to 84 were more likely to die as a result of mesothelioma than any other age group, with the median age being 75.

Gender

Overall, women have a better prognosis than men when they are diagnosed with mesothelioma. While women only account for a small number of mesothelioma patients -- about 20 percent -- they tend to fair better in the long run.

Race

Generally, white men are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Typically, black and Hispanic men have a lesser chance of developing any type of cancer.

Cancer Location

Of the main types of mesothelioma, most patients are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Because of this, much of the research and funding goes into pleural mesothelioma.

Tumor Cell Type

Also known as histology, cell types can add to survival rates. Epithelial tumors are more common and treatable.

Using Survival Rates

You can use survival rate data to come up with pieces of information that could be important to your overall prognosis:

  • Understand Your Prognosis -- Survival rates allow patients to better understand the complexity of the prognosis.
  • Develop A Treatment Plan -- Physicians use survival rates as part of the overall picture to develop a treatment plan.

What survival rates can’t tell you are specifics about you. Since survival rates are generalizations, they don’t take into account individual chances for remission. Many patients choose to ignore survival rate information because it can be overwhelming and negative. Instead, they choose to move forward with the positive aspects of treatment for a healthier life.

Sources:

  1. American Cancer Society. Survival rates for mesothelioma. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignantmesothelioma/overviewguide/malignant-mesothelioma-overview-survival-rates
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Malignant Mesothelioma. Retrieved from http://www2a.cdc.gov/drds/WorldReportData/figuretabledetailsarchive.asp?FigureTableID=891&GroupRefNumber=T07-01
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