While it is a difficult question to ask and a difficult question to answer, the topic of life expectancy often comes up when a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma. As with all cancers there are many factors that go into determining a person’s prognosis and each case is different.
Some cancers grow slower than expected and others might grow faster than expected. While there are factors that can be looked at, it is best to talk to your doctor about your specific case.
Mesothelioma life expectancy
Life expectancy rates for those diagnosed with mesothelioma have unfortunately not been very good. Due to the nature of the disease it usually isn’t discovered until it is already in the late stages. Symptoms may not appear until 10 – 50 years after exposure has occurred.
Also, mesothelioma is a rare cancer whose symptoms mimic other ailments. A correct diagnosis can take months and this is valuable time that the patient is not being properly treated. On average the life expectancy for those diagnosed with mesothelioma is a year or two. As with all cancers, there is continued research and new treatments being developed.
This, along with the 1989 Environmental Protection Agency ban on the use of asbestos in many industries, will hopefully result in better prognosis and fewer cases of mesothelioma.
The younger a patient is when the mesothelioma is diagnosed the better chance they have of survival. If the cancer is found early enough that they can have surgery to remove the tumors this greatly improves their chances of survival. Older patients with other health problems have a poor chance of curing the cancer.
They may not be strong enough for surgery so they can only manage the disease through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In general, stage 1 and 2 mesothelioma is considered treatable and stage 3 and 4 mesothelioma is not.
There is a well-known case in Australia of Paul Kraus. Kraus was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1997 and has effectively managed the disease using alternative treatments. There are also a few documented cases where patients have lived with the disease for more than 10 years.
While doctors don’t know for sure why one patient can fight the disease for so long while others cannot, they do believe that the stronger a person’s immune system is, the better their chances will be.