Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

According to the American Cancer Society, on average, most Mesothelioma patients have a short life expectancy of about four to 18 months after the diagnosis has occurred. Approximately 10% of the diagnosed mesothelioma patients survive beyond five years following the initial diagnosis. There are several factors that contribute to this phenomenon, including the fact that mesothelioma has a prolonged latency period and its most prominent symptoms show up only in the final stages of the disease.

However, all is not lost for mesothelioma patients. There are many pre-existing conditions (patient's age, type of mesothelioma and overall medical condition), treatment methods and alternate therapies which can cumulatively enhance the life expectancy of an individual. Advanced, experimental treatment strategies are also being developed to increase the life expectancy of people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Here are few conditions that can significantly impact an individual's survival rate.

Patient's Age

The age at which mesothelioma is diagnosed in an individual has a considerable effect on his/her life expectancy. Statics reveal that about 75% of all mesothelioma cases involve men over the age of 55. Older patients may have weaker immune systems, are known to suffer from multiple health issues and are more resistant to stressful treatment methods. This comes in their way of responding to the treatment positively and subsequently reduces the life expectancy.

Patient's Gender

A majority of mesothelioma cases are related to the occupational hazard of asbestos exposure and these jobs are predominantly male-oriented. Women are less affected by mesothelioma and hence have fewer representations in clinical trials. However, for reasons which are yet to be discovered, women seem to have a more positive prognosis about their life expectancy.

Latency Period

Mesothelioma, owing to its extended latency period, is capable of lying undetected for decades until its symptoms start surfacing. This allows the cancer to thrive and spread even before it can be diagnosed and adequate curative treatments can be administered. Due to this, mesothelioma patients can mostly only benefit from palliative treatments that reduce the individual's discomfort rather than curative treatments that tackle the disease head on. In the later stages, patients generally lose the strength to undergo intensive treatment methods.

Patient's General Health

The overall health and lifestyle of an individual prior to the detection of the disease significantly impacts his/her life expectancy rate. Smokers with breathing problems, weak immune systems and damaged lungs will generally have a reduced life expectancy compared to non-smoking patients who have led a healthy nicotine-free lifestyle. An individual suffering from other health issues may also not be able to withstand aggressive mesothelioma treatment methods.

Even post diagnosis lifestyle choices can greatly impact the life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient. Individuals who refrain from smoking and consuming excessive alcohol may respond more positively to the treatment. Similarly patients following a healthy dietary regime comprising fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains along with recommended exercises and alternate therapies like yoga, medication, or acupuncture may have a higher life expectancy rate.