Mesothelioma Life Span – Over the years, many advances have been made in the treatment of cancer. Some forms of the disease are no longer an automatic death sentence, with new therapies showing much progress in regards to extending the life span of patients.
Though research on the treatment of mesothelioma has been ongoing, not a lot of strides have been made in a positive direction. Hence, the life span of a mesothelioma patient has only increased slightly over the years.
According to the American Cancer Society, survival time for mesothelioma patients whose cancer is “resectable” is longer than those who are not candidates for surgery. In most cases, individuals with the pleural form of the disease whose cancer is diagnosed in Stage 1 or 2 may be able to undergo a pleurectomy (removal of the affected pleura) or the much more serious extrapleural pneumonectomy (the removal of the lung, a portion of the diaphragm, and the linings of the lungs and heart).
Patients must be in otherwise relatively good health to be candidates for these procedures and younger patients are often more likely to survive these surgeries. Sometimes, Stage 3 and 4 patients are deemed to be viable candidates as well. Surgery is generally not an option for those with peritoneal or pericardial mesothelioma.
Stage 1 patients: 21 months
Stage 2 patients: 19 months
Stage 3 patients: 16 months
Stage 4 patients: 12 months
Individuals who are not considered for surgery will see a life span that is generally much shorter. Few patients who are not candidates for surgery live more than a year following diagnosis though there are indeed exceptions.
Again, those diagnosed at a younger age are likely to live longer, even without surgery. However, only about 5% to 10% of all mesothelioma patients in the U.S. make it to that all-important 5-year survival point. However, that is a much higher number than one would have found 20 – or even 10 – years ago.
With some research, however, one can find stories of individuals who have survived a mesothelioma diagnosis for 5 years, 10, years, and even 20 years. These cancer patients are certainly the exception rather than the norm.
What one notices about them, however, is that they were willing to step out of the box as far as treatment was concerned. Some opted for clinical trials while others chose alternative therapies rather than the standard chemo or radiation. Their stories are inspiring.
Early detection will continue to be paramount in increasing the life span of mesothelioma patients. New diagnostic techniques now make it possible to detect the disease at an earlier point than in the past, and as more techniques are developed, the survivor numbers will go up.
Candidates for the disease should, therefore, be regularly tested for the presence of mesothelioma biomarkers and should succumb to regular scans, breathing tests, and anything else that might help detect the presence of the disease.