5 Things You Need To Know About Mesothelioma

#1 Survival Rates

When looking at the broad spectrum, mesothelioma survival statistics can be rather intimidating. Across all mesothelioma patients in the United States, regardless of what type and the stage of cancer, only 55% of patients survive one year after diagnosis. After three years, only about one-third of patients are expected to survive. The 5-year survival rate is only estimated at about 9%.

#2 Diagnosis

The stage of mesothelioma when diagnosed is one of the most important factors in determining survival rate. Early stage mesothelioma, such as stage 1 mesothelioma, indicates a smaller tumor size and that the cancer is localized to one part of the body. This makes it much easier to treat, and patients see a better survival of on average 1.5 to 3 years after diagnosis. Unfortunately, most mesothelioma patients aren’t diagnosed until a later stage that have more limited treatment options.

#3 Treatment Plans

Treatment has the potential to extend survival by years, especially if patients are able to withstand more aggressive treatment options like extensive surgery. For peritoneal mesothelioma patients who undergo cytoreductive surgery combined with a heated chemotherapy wash called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), survival rates can be as high as 67% of these patients surviving 5 years or more beyond diagnosis. Pleural mesothelioma patients who underwent surgery in combination with chemotherapy also saw survival rate improve by about 20% compared to patients who only undergo chemotherapy.

#4 Beating The Odds

Though the survival rates may paint a rather bleak picture, it is possible to beat the odds. While there aren’t nearly as many long-term survivors of mesothelioma compared to other types of cancer, there have still been some who have lived well beyond their initial poor prognosis. Heather Von St. James, for example, is a 12-year mesothelioma survivor, though her initial prognosis was just 15 months. As a new mom, Heather decided to seek out aggressive treatment in the hopes of extending her life that combined invasive surgery, heated chemotherapy and radiation. Though grueling, the treatment has helped Heather live beyond even her best prognosis.

#5 Improvement In Survival Rates

Within the last few years especially, mesothelioma research has had some great advancements in new ways to diagnose and treat the disease, like biomarkers in the blood for earlier diagnosis and the potential of immunotherapy. Thanks to these promising advancements, survival rates for both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma have improved slightly in recent years.