Mesothelioma Life Expectancy (Stages And How To Extend Your Life)

Several factors play into determining the life expectancy of someone diagnosed with mesothelioma, including what type they have, during which stage the diagnosis was made, and their prior health history. Other factors can help increase one’s expectancy, such as 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?

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Approximately ½ of individuals who develop mesothelioma are told that they have at least 12 months to live. If you have received a grim prognosis after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, don’t give up hope.

You can take steps to increase your expectancy and improve your overall quality of life. One of these steps is to seek out the assistance of a great specialist with extensive experience. Treatment options for mesothelioma are constantly improving; when you and your specialist take advantage of state of the at treatments, you can see vast improvements in your life. While there is not currently a cure for mesothelioma, you can extend and enjoy the time you have with your loved ones.


What You Can do to Extend Your Life Expectancy

Life expectancy prognoses can vary based on at which stage your mesothelioma is diagnosed. For example, the life expectancy of a patient whose cancer is detected in Stage One is optimistic— without treatments, the average is 38 months.

Conversely, if mesothelioma is detected in Stage Two, a patient in their 60s may find themselves facing a life expectancy of 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 far the mesothelioma has advanced before its detection. 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 use your cell types to help reach a prognosis. Knowing your mesothelioma cell type is very important. Some types of cells reproduce and spread cancer throughout your organs faster than other types of cancerous cells.
  • The type of mesothelioma you have been diagnosed with. Each version affects your body differently, and many have different treatments.
  • Your age, blood type, and sex all influence how the cancer reacts in your body. Even lifestyle choices can affect the cancer’s behavior.
  • Which treatments, procedures, medications, and clinical trials you and your specialist decide on.
  • Your overall health is also an important factor

As mentioned, various treatments and lifestyle changes can help extend your life expectancy. The first step you need to take is find a specialist whom your general practitioner and insurance approves. This specialist will help you and your loved ones understand mesothelioma, how it can affect you, and what can be done to prolong and improve your quality of life.

Your specialist will walk you through a variety of treatments that can assist, but they may also suggest lifestyle changes such as dietary and exercise recommendations. While not every treatment works for every patient, most patients will agree that a longer and more comfortable life is worth the effort of trying.

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Stages

Of all the factors that are taken into consideration when estimating a life expectancy, the current stage of your cancer is often the most influential.

“Stages” are how doctors break down the advancement timeline of cancers and other serious illnesses. The higher the stage, the more progressed the cancer— thus, the lower the life expectancy.

Types

The form a patient’s mesothelioma takes also affects life expectancy. The types of mesothelioma are:

  • Pleural Mesothelioma
    • Found in the lungs, this is the most common form of mesothelioma
  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma
    • Found in the abdomen, this is the second-most common form
  • Pericardial Mesothelioma
    • Found in the Heart
  • Testicular Mesothelioma
    • Found in the testicles

Cell types that make up a mesothelioma tumor will react differently to treatment. Mesothelioma Cell Types include:

  • Epithelial
    • The most common and easiest to treat, 75% of mesothelioma cases are made up of these cells. Patients with epithelial-based tumors can live up to 200 days longer than patients with the other two common types: sarcomatoid and biphasic.
  • Sarcomatoid
    • The most dangerous of the cell types, sarcomatoid cells are highly resistant to treatment. They account for 10-20% of cases and often showcase aggressive growth.
  • Biphasic
    • Biphasic means a tumor is made up of both sarcomatoid and epithelial cells. Prognoses vary, but life expectancy is largely dependent on which cell is most prevalent in the tumor.

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.


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Peritoneal Mesothelioma

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, 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 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.