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Home / Mesothelioma / Mesothelioma Life Expectancy and Prognosis

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy, Prognosis and Legal Help

When dealing with mesothelioma cancer, life expectancy refers to how the patient's life-span has been affected by the diagnosis. On average, the life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient who hasn't undergone any treatment is greatly reduced. On the other hand, a prognosis is an overall outlook, depending on many factors unique to each patient. A mesothelioma prognosis can range from being good to being poor, based on the current stage of cancer, treatment and overall health of the patient.

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy and Prognosis

Factors that affect Life Expectancy and Prognosis

Generally, a patient's life expectancy is closely linked to their prognosis. Patients with poor prognoses will not live as long as patients with good prognoses. The most critical factors that affect the life-span of patients with mesothelioma are:

  • The stage, type, and cell type of mesothelioma cancer
  • The treatment plans that patients can pursue
  • The age, gender, and overall health of patients

Life Expectancy and Prognosis by Mesothelioma Stage, Type, and Cell Type

These are usually the most decisive factors that impact life expectancy. Prognoses are generally better for early stage mesothelioma patients and become even better if their tumors pertain to the epithelioid cell type. The type of mesothelioma also affects life expectancy.

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Life Expectancy and Prognosis by Mesothelioma Stage

Patients with stage 1 mesothelioma tend to live the longest with the disease because aggressive treatment options are available to them. Median survival rates for stage 1 mesothelioma patients that undergo surgery is 22 months.

Life Expectancy and Prognosis by Mesothelioma Stage
Median survival rates for mesothelioma patients that undergo surgery

Patients with stage 2 mesothelioma can still benefit from more aggressive treatment plans at this stage, but don't fare as well as those with stage 1. Median survival rates for stage 2 mesothelioma patients that undergo surgery is 20 months.

Patients with stage 3 mesothelioma may no longer qualify for surgery, apart from a few exceptions. Median survival rates for stage 3 mesothelioma patients that can undergo surgery is 18 months.

Patients with stage 4 mesothelioma have a very poor prognosis due to the spread of cancer. These patients may no longer qualify for surgery, and their median survival rates with treatment are 15 months.

Overall, mesothelioma life expectancy often ranges from about 6 to 21 months. However, there are many factors that contribute to life expectancy and each patient is unique. Through treatment and healthy habits some patients can outlive their prognosis significantly. The patient's overall health and age are also significant factors in the prognosis.

Life Expectancy and Prognosis by Mesothelioma Type

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma is known to be the most common type of mesothelioma. This type of mesothelioma has had the most research done to, and many different treatment options are available for patients affected by this particular disease.

Despite all that, the prognosis for pleural mesothelioma is generally poor, as only about 40 percent of patients survive for more than one year after diagnosis without treatment. When surgery is possible, patients usually live an average of three years.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma fare a lot better than those with pleural mesothelioma. Advances in medical practices paved the way for extremely effective treatment options.

The median survival rate of untreated peritoneal mesothelioma, across all stages and cell types, is a mere six months. But, if treatment is pursued, especially surgery paired with heated chemotherapy, life expectancy is hugely increased, 50 percent of patients being able to live longer than five years.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma is very rare, and not much research has been done on this disease. Prognosis is generally very poor, patients having an overall remaining life-span of six months. If pericardial mesothelioma is in an early stage and surgery can be done, the life expectancy of patients can drastically increase.

Life Expectancy and Prognosis by Mesothelioma Cell Type

The types of cells mesothelioma tumors are composed of have a huge impact on life expectancy. Out of the three histological types (epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic), epithelioid mesothelioma is linked to the highest survival rates. Epithelioid mesothelioma responds much better to treatment and is not as aggressive as sarcomatoid mesothelioma.

On average, patients with epithelioid mesothelioma can live longer than those with sarcomatoid or biphasic mesothelioma. The life expectancy of patients with biphasic mesothelioma depends on the ratio of epithelioid to sarcomatoid cells in the cellular composition of their tumors.

Life Expectancy and Prognosis by Treatment Plans

If treatment is not pursued, the average life expectancy of patients with early-stage mesothelioma is about two years, and late-stage mesothelioma is about six to eight months. Whichever the case, some form of treatment can always be pursued, and is usually highly recommended.

Treatment for early-stage patients (stages 1 and 2) usually involves multimodal therapy, which includes a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. If patients in these stages had one or two years left to live without treatment, they could live as long as three years if they pursue aggressive treatment options.

Treatment for late-stage patients (stages 3 and 4) usually revolve around palliative treatment, as surgery and more aggressive treatment options are no longer available at this point. Some stage 3 patients can still qualify for treatment options meant for stage 1 and 2 patients, but they must be in very good health. If palliative treatment options are not pursued for late-stage patients, they live seven months on average, compared to one year if they choose to undergo treatment to keep cancer in control. Patients undergoing treatment can live longer than those choosing palliative treatment.

Life Expectancy and Prognosis by Age, Gender, and Overall health

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy by Gender

Mesothelioma life expectancy often ranges from about 6 to 21 months. However, there are many factors that contribute to life expectancy and each patient is unique. Through treatment and healthy habits some patients can outlive their prognosis significantly.

It goes without saying that young people tend to live longer with mesothelioma cancer than the elderly because their overall health is usually better allowing younger patients to undergo more aggressive treatment plans. On average, 50 percent of patients under 50 years of age live more than a year with mesothelioma, and less than 33 percent of patients over 75 years of age live that long.

Gender also has a significant impact on the prognosis of mesothelioma patients. Women tend to live longer than men with mesothelioma, with around 15 percent of women living longer than five years, and only 9 percent of men living that long.

Overall health is also very important when fighting mesothelioma cancer. Patients with better health can pursue more aggressive treatment plans that prolong their lives.

Article Sources

  1. https://seer.cancer.gov/archive/csr/1975_2006/results_merged/sect_17_mesothelioma.pdf
  2. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/about/key-statistics.html
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1556086415302227
  4. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/MalignantMesothelioma/DetailedGuide/malignant-mesothelioma-key-statistics
  5. http://seer.cancer.gov/archive/csr/1975_2010/results_merged/sect_17_mesothelioma.pdf
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26163973
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5292397/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5087771/
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