Around 55 percent of mesothelioma patients live longer than a half year, while about 35 percent live longer than one year. Just 9 percent of individuals determined to have mesothelioma survive longer than 5 years. Typically ladies over all age bunches have higher survival rates than men. Those determined to have peritoneal mesothelioma have the most astounding survival rate of any subtype.
Cancer survival rates are typically measured with 5-year statistics, but mesothelioma statistics often reference 1-year and 3-year statistics due to a poor prognosis. Survival rates can help patients better understand their prognosis and also help specialists identify potential risk factors driving patient life expectancy. Survival time varies for mesothelioma patients based on type, age, treatment and other factors.
Survival Rates for Mesothelioma
In recent years, mesothelioma survival rates have improved, particularly for pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. New diagnostic methods to detect the disease early, as well as new treatments, are helping cancer patients live longer. However, there are many factors that can influence survival rates that must be taken into account, such as age, gender, type and other patient characteristics.
Age and Gender
Mesothelioma survival rates largely depend on the patient’s age and gender. On average, younger patients have a higher 5-year survival rate than older patients, and women have better overall survival rates than men. Mesothelioma specialists and researchers believe this is due to the overall better health of younger individuals, whereas older patients tend to have other diseases and conditions that could complicate their health and ability to withstand treatment. In relation to gender, more men held asbestos occupations at the height of its use, resulting in higher amounts of long-term exposure.
The stage of mesothelioma at the time of diagnosis is also an influential factor to survival rates. Early detection is the best way to improve a patient’s mesothelioma prognosis, and early-stage diagnoses have substantially higher survival rates than late-stage diagnoses. When diagnosed at stage 3 or stage 4, the cancer has likely spread to distant areas of the body and is therefore more difficult to target and treat. If diagnosed at stage 1 or 2, the disease is likely localized and can be targeted with surgical resection and other aggressive treatments.
In addition to age, gender and staging, there are a variety of other factors that impact survival rates, including:
- Location: Testicular mesothelioma survival rates are the most favorable, followed by peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma has the least favorable survival rates.
- Cell Type: Epithelioid mesothelioma generally has the highest survival rates, followed by biphasic mesothelioma and sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
- Genetics: The presence of biomarker BRCA1-associated protein-1 (BAP1) has shown lower survival rates.
- Lifestyle Factors: Patients with a history of smoking have lower survival rates than non-smokers.
- Blood Counts: High levels of hemoglobin, platelets or white blood cells have been shown to negatively impact mesothelioma survival rates.
- Overall Health: Poor health factors like being overweight or having a compromised immune system often result in lower survival rates.
Ultimately, patients should discuss their individual diagnosis with their physician, along with impacting factors, to better understand where they fall in terms of survival.
Improving Mesothelioma Survival
Though there are many factors that can negatively impact survival rates, there are also ways that patients can improve their survival after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Treatment is the most important factor in extending life expectancy following diagnosis. For instance, a newer treatment combination of surgery with a heated chemotherapy wash known as hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) has improved 5-year peritoneal mesothelioma survival rates to at least 50%. Other types of mesothelioma have also seen some improvement in survival, as clinical trials continue to show hope in improving prognosis with treatments like immunotherapy.
The treatment options available are largely dependent on the type and stage of mesothelioma. For those with stage 1 or stage 2 mesothelioma, undergoing aggressive treatment to remove tumors and tissues or organs containing cancer cells can lead to higher survival rates. Those with a later stage diagnosis may not have the same surgical options available, as the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or distant organs. However, chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments could still be beneficial and extend survival.
Pleural mesothelioma patients who undergo aggressive pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) or extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) surgeries, both common in multimodal treatment plans, generally have a much higher rate of survival than those who receive chemotherapy alone. For peritoneal mesothelioma, patients who undergo cytoreductive surgery (CRS) with HIPEC have significantly higher rates of survival compared to patients who are unable to undergo surgery. When combined with systemic chemotherapy as an adjuvant treatment, the 5-year survival rate of patients who undergo CRS + HIPEC can be as high as 67%.
In addition to traditional aggressive mesothelioma treatments, patients may choose to find clinical trials or undergo alternative treatments to extend their life expectancy, along with improving and maintaining better overall health.