After being diagnosed with any severe disease, the first question that pops up in a patient's mind is automatically "How long can I live with this disease?". Each case is different from another and the survival rate for mesothelioma victims has traditionally been grim for years. Survival rates are standard ways of discussing a person’s prognosis and are often used by doctors.
In order to get survival rates for any disease, doctors have to look at statistics involving patients who were treated several years ago. Doctors cannot predict what will happen in any person’s case, even though survival rates are based on previous outcomes of a large number of patients who had the disease. This is because the mesothelioma survival rate is based on a number of different factors.
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What Are the Factors Related to the Survival Rate?
Knowing the type and the stage of a cancer is an important factor to consider when estimating outcome. But many other factors can affect survival, such as a person’s age and overall health, the treatment received, and how well cancer responds to treatment.
1. Mesothelioma Latency Period
What makes mesothelioma a truly unusual form of cancer is its latency period. There are absolutely no symptoms or signs whatsoever of the disease for 20-50 years after the initial exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, because symptoms cannot be detected up until then, in many cases cancer has already spread from the origin site to other parts of the body.
2. Stage of Disease at the Time of Diagnosis
Patients diagnosed with Stage 1 or 2 mesothelioma have a greater chance of surviving the disease for an extended period of time (19-21 months median survival time) due to the fact that more treatment options will be available to them. However, for individuals diagnosed with Stage 3 or 4 mesothelioma, the median survival time is 12 to 16 months, and, with fewer treatment options available for these stages, patients generally have a less favorable prognosis.
3. Tumor Operability
Surgery to remove the primary mesothelioma tumor is often not an option because of the latency period of this disease. However, a surgical procedure to remove the tumor may be a possibility when the patient is otherwise healthy and if the disease is discovered in an early stage.
4. Patient Age
Age plays an important role in survival rate when it comes to mesothelioma and young patients certainly fair better. Thus, the younger the patient, the better the chance for survival.
5. Co-Morbidity with Other Illnesses
Patients, especially older ones with many other medical issues, are less likely to survive with mesothelioma. Heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, kidney problems, and other illnesses or disorders can severely impact treatment options.
6. Mesothelioma Treatment Plan
The length of time a mesothelioma victim survives may depend on the treatment he receives.
7. Affected Area and Type of the Disease
Mesothelioma comes in various forms:
Even taking these other factors into account, survival rates are at best rough estimates. Pleural mesothelioma is easier to treat and patients will generally have a longer survival time than those whose disease is located elsewhere. The type of cells that make up your tumor can also impact your prognosis. Patients with epithelial mesothelioma generally have a better life expectancy than those with either the sarcomatoid or biphasic subtypes. Today, more and more patients are living longer with the disease new and more effective ways to detect the disease and to treat it have been emerging in the past years.
Helping Patients Find the Best Doctor for Their Condition
At MesotheliomaDr, our primary mission is to help patients find the best doctor and the best hospital for their condition. Through this website, we aim to empower all patients and their loved ones to search for experienced doctors who meet their needs. We also work closely with mesothelioma expert physicians to help build a more dedicated care system for mesothelioma patients. Send us your chest X-ray and we will evaluate it in minutes for free!
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