Mesothelioma Survival Rates
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009). Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality: United States, 1999-2005. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5815a3.htm
- Flores, R.M. et al. (2010). Frequency of Use and Predictors of Cancer-Directed Surgery in the Management of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in a Community-Based (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results [SEER]) Population.Journal of Thoracic Oncology, 5(10), 1649-1654. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/jto/Fulltext/2010/10000/Frequency_of_Use_and_Predictors_of_Cancer_Directed.25.aspx#
- Leite, K.R.M., Nahas, W.C., &Camara-Lopes, L.H. (2002).Malignant Mesothelioma of the Tunica Vaginalis.Brazilian Journal of Urology, 28(2), 135-137. Retrieved from http://www.brazjurol.com.br/march_april_2002/Leite_135_137.pdf
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (2007).Work-Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2008-143/pdfs/2008-143.pdf
- Rusch, V.W. &Venkatramen, E. (1996).The Importance of Surgical Staging in the Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.Journal of Thoracic Cardiovascular Surgery, 111, 815-826. Retrieved from http://www.jtcvsonline.org/home
- Zhang, W., et al. (2015). “Advances in the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma.” Ann Transl Med 3(13): 182.
- Ai, J. and J. P. Stevenson (2014). “Current issues in malignant pleural mesothelioma evaluation and management.” Oncologist 19(9): 975-984.
- 2Balduyck, B., et al. (2010). “Therapeutic surgery for nonepithelioid malignant pleural mesothelioma: is it really worthwhile?” Ann Thorac Surg 89(3): 907-911.
- 3Berk, S., et al. (2012). “Clinical characteristics, treatment and survival outcomes in malignant mesothelioma: eighteen years’ experience in Turkey.” Asian Pac J Cancer Prev 13(11): 5735-5739.
- 4Bovolato, P., et al. (2014). “Does surgery improve survival of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma?: a multicenter retrospective analysis of 1365 consecutive patients.” J Thorac Oncol 9(3): 390-396.
- 5Cao, C., et al. (2012). “Systematic review of trimodality therapy for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.” Ann Cardiothorac Surg 1(4): 428-437.
- 6Cao, C., et al. (2011). “Summary of prognostic factors and patient selection for extrapleural pneumonectomy in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma.” Ann Surg Oncol 18(10): 2973-2979.
- 7Ceresoli, G. L., et al. (2007). “Multidisciplinary treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma.” Oncologist12(7): 850-863.
- 8Flores, R. M., et al. (2008). “Extrapleural pneumonectomy versus pleurectomy/decortication in the surgical management of malignant pleural mesothelioma: results in 663 patients.” J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg135(3): 620-626, 626 e621-623.
- 9Flores, R. M., et al. (2008). “The impact of lymph node station on survival in 348 patients with surgically resected malignant pleural mesothelioma: implications for revision of the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system.” J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 136(3): 605-610.
- 10Kao, S. C., et al. (2013). “Use of cancer therapy at the end of life in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.” Support Care Cancer 21(7): 1879-1884.
- Baumann, Francine, et al. “Mesothelioma patients with germline BAP1 mutations have 7-fold improved long-term survival.” Cancer Research. 2016; 76(2):206-215. DOI:
- 10.1093/carcin/bgu227Faig, Jennifer, et al. “Changing Pattern in Malignant Mesothelioma Survival.”Translational Oncology. February 2015; 8(1):35-39. DOI:
- 10.1016/j.tranon.2014.12.002 Hassan, R. “Mesothelin Targeted Cancer Immunotherapy.” European Journal of Cancer. August 2007. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejca.2007.08.028
By Phone, Form, or Email, We Are Here For You.
We understand the urgency some might feel about getting the answers they need right away. Our support staff is on standby and are prepared to answer any questions that you may have.
Any medical or health advice provided and hosted on this site has been approved & edited by a team of registered nurses. The information provided on this site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and the patient's/site visitor's physician. TreatMesothelioma.org pledges to respect the legal requirements for medical information confidentiality as well as all personal information, including identity. Our Disclaimer | Our Mission