What type of mesothelioma, what stage was the diagnosis, and prior health history all play into life expectancy. It may be improved though be selecting a doctor or specialist that can provide treatments to help extend and even improve the quality of life.
What Should My First Steps Be?
Approximately ½ of individuals who develop mesothelioma are told they have at least 12 months to live. Patients who have received a grim prognosis after being diagnosed with mesothelioma shouldn’t give up hope.
Seeking out the assistance of a great specialist with extensive experience and taking advantage of treatment options can do amazing things for not only improving the overall quality of life, but also extending life.
What You Can do to Extend Your Life Expectancy
If your cancer is at stage 1 when it’s first detected, your life expectancy is pretty optimistic. Even without treatments, it’s reasonable to expect that you’ll live about 38 months.
When the cancer is at stage 2 at the time of detection, the average life expectancy of someone who is in their 60’s is about 19 months.
The exact prognosis you’re given after being diagnosed with mesothelioma will depend on a variety of factors, including how experienced the doctor currently in charge of your health is.
The factors that have to be taken into account include:
- How advanced the mesothelioma is before it’s detected. Patients who are in stage 1 have a much longer life expectancy than individuals who have already entered stage 4 by the time the cancer gets detected.
- The location of the cancerous tumor not only impacts what type of treatment you should get, but also your life expectancy.
- Oncologists us your cell types to help reach a prognosis. Knowing your mesothelioma cell type is very important. Some types of cell reproduce and spread cancer throughout your organs faster than other types of cancerous cells.
- Your overall health is also an important factor
Early Stage Pleural Mesothelioma
The types of cell’s that carry the mesothelioma often vary and they play a huge role in helping your oncologist determine your life expectancy. If you have epithelioid cell types it’s likely your prognosis will be longer than if you have sarcomatoid cell types which spread faster.
Individuals who have biphasic cell type have cells that manage to combine both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells. While it’s difficult to determine which cells the individual will most strongly resemble, oncologists generally give patients with early stage biphasic pleural mesothelioma a life expectancy that’s in the between the two cell types, about 21 months. As long as the cancer is detected in its early stages, there are multiple treatment options that have successfully extended the lives of patients with mesothelioma.
Late Stage Pleural Mesothelioma
It’s very unusual for pleural mesothelioma to be diagnosed while it’s still in stage 1 or 2. The late diagnosis makes treatment difficult but there have been patients who were diagnosed with the cancer in its later stages and still managed to have a successful curative surgery that drastically extended their lives.
At the time of their diagnosis, most patients with stage pleural mesothelioma that’s in it’s late stages are given a life expectancy of about 11 months or less. If the patient is past their 65th birthday, the average life expectancy drops to 6 months.
Patients with late stage patients with epithelioid pleural mesothelioma but who are otherwise healthy often experience a positive reaction to treatments, including palliative surgery. Often surprising their doctors by living a great deal longer than originally anticipated.
Right now, oncologists haven’t found a good system for determining the stages of peritoneal mesothelioma. Since it’s not possible to stage this type cancer, oncologists rely on whether or not the cancer has gone metastic to determine the patient’s life expectancy. If the tumors are localized, the oncologist considers the patient to be in the early stages. Nearly all patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma are given a life expectancy of 12 months.
Getting told that they are only expected to live for 12 months can be quite a blow, but the patient needs to remember that not all hope is lost. Depending on age, overall health, and the type of treatment they choose, it’s possible for the patient to enjoy a long life despite the peritoneal mesothelioma.
Leading expert in the field of peritoneal mesothelioma, Dr. Paul Sugarbaker, developed a treatment called cytoreductive surgery which has changed the lives of patients suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma. After the surgery, which is often combined with chemotherapy or radiation treatment, many patients enjoy a life expectancy of 5 years or longer, especially if they have an epithelioid cell type.
Some studies that have been conducted on patients who underwent Dr. Sugarbaker’s cytoreductive surgery indicated that a large number of patients extended their lives by 79 months
To learn more about Dr. Sugarbaker and other mesothelioma specialists and their treatments check out our interactive Mesothelioma Doctor Map. We’ve developed a free Doctor Match program that’s designed to help you located a doctor that will provide you with the best mesothelioma treatment.