Doctors use survival rates as a way of discussing a patient’s prognosis. To get survival rates doctors must look back at patients that were treated over the past several years. Although the rates are based on previous outcomes of patients with mesothelioma, doctors cannot predict to the “T” what will happen for any one patient specifically. Additionally, current data is not always reflected in survival rates since doctors look at the results of patients treated in the past and therefore numbers cannot be extreme accurate but more so, a starting point.

Statistical survival rates can also be somewhat misleading because there are mesothelioma patients that did not receive specific treatment or if they did, they were treated by an oncologist instead of a mesothelioma specialist.  All of these results were included in the studies.

There is a margin of error for all statistical data, including survival rates. Though the survival rates for mesothelioma tend to be low, they are continuously improving because of new mesothelioma treatment options.

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy Graph on Stages 1 - 4

Mesothelioma Survival Rates Since The Beginning

As bleak as it sounds, there is some good news. The survival rates for patients with mesothelioma are getting better. In 2015 a study looked at pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma between the years 1992 and 2012. Both of theses main types of mesothelioma showed great improvement over those past 10 years.  Please notice the chart on the right as this is the most accurate percentage of the latest study on mesothelioma survival rates.

Mesothelioma Survival Rates By Type

New forms of treatment are improving patient’s survival rates every day.

Factors That Affect Mesothelioma Survival Rates

Life Expectancy Mesothelioma Stage 3
Age – younger patients have a higher survival rate than older ones. Over 50% of patients that were diagnosed prior to age 50 lived one year. Only 33% of patients 75 or older lived the same amount of time. A big part of the difference in survival rate is because younger patients are often eligible for intensive treatments as their overall health is usually better.
Life Expectancy Mesothelioma Stage 3
Health – Many older people also have other medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and other respiratory illnesses. These conditions often cause complications and therefore more intensive treatment is ruled out.
Life Expectancy Mesothelioma Stage 3
Gender – According to research, women diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma have a survival rate 3x that of men. This may be because most asbestos exposure happens in the workplace in jobs traditionally held by men. Men were exposed much longer and in larger concentration than women.
Life Expectancy Mesothelioma Stage 3

Point of origin – Where the cancer originates plays a big role in survival. Of the four types of mesothelioma, peritoneal survival rate is much higher than pleural mesothelioma. A new treatment called HIPEC combines cytoreductive surgery and heated chemotherapy. This treatment boosted the survival rate from less than 12 months to between 40 and 92 months. The other two types, pericardial and testicular mesothelioma account for less than 2 percent of cancer cases combined.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Stage 4

Stage of cancer – The stage of cancer when diagnosed is a good predictor of your survival rate. Mesothelioma that is detected and an early stage, before the cancer has a chance to spread have the best survival rate. At this early stage patients usually qualify for surgery, aggressive treatment, and clinical trials.

Mesothelioma can take 20 to 50 years to develop after exposure and symptoms are not as noticeable until the later stages.

In most cases mesothelioma is not diagnosed until stage lll or lV which are the last stages of development. At this point a large tumor is likely present and cancer has spread throughout the body.

One-year mesothelioma survival rate by stages:

  • Stage l is 94%.
  • Stage ll is 87%
  • Stage lll is 66%.
Life Expectancy Mesothelioma Stage 3
Tumor Histology – There are three types of mesothelioma cells, Epithelial, sarcomatoid and biphasic. Depending on the cell makeup of the tumor also predicts patient survival. Epithelial mesothelioma has a better prognosis than the other two cell types. The average survival rate is between 12 and 24 months. It is the least aggressive cancer and responds best to treatment. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma has an average survival rate of 6 months. These tumors are invasive and aggressive. Biphasic mesothelioma has cell types of both sarcomatoid and epithelial cells and the average survival rate is 12 months.

Top 10 Best Mesothelioma Cancer Centers

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What It All Means

Studies and clinical trials are continuously being conducted to try to find ways to increase the survival rate for mesothelioma patients. Survival rate statistics can be helpful in some cases and harmful in others. Doctors are aware of new treatments and other factors that will improve your prognosis. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice and guidance rather than focus on statistics. Every mesothelioma patient is different and should be treated individually.

Last Modified: Mar 8, 2017 @ 1:05 am

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