Thursday, March 2, 2017

"Mesothelioma Prognosis & Life Expectancy"

By Christopher Visser

The definition of prognosis is the possible outcome of a disease, which is based on the condition of a patient. It is used to estimate the chance of a patients survival or recovery, and if there is a possibility whether the disease may reoccur. With this particular form of cancer, early detection can have a significant impact on a patients mesothelioma prognosis because most to all of the treatment options are still available.

This is especially true if the cancer is detected in stage 1 or 2.  This allows surgery to still be an option and having the opportunity to successfully remove a developing tumor before it spreads could potentially add 5 - 10+ years to a patient’s life. 
Sadly, in most cases, the detection of the disease is already at an advanced stage because mesothelioma cancer has a long latency period. Discovering cancer at a late stage often leads to a poor prognosis because the patient has a weaker immune system, and the tumors have spread reaching other parts of the body. This makes it especially difficult for the physicians to capture and treat the spreading cancer cells. 

Factors That Affect A Patients Mesothelioma Prognosis

Prognosis of mesothelioma cancer is greatly influenced by certain factors and the life expectancy and the possible treatment options are highly dependent on these.  Before we dive in to each influencing factor, here is a short video on Mesothelioma Prognosis.


The first factor is the stage in which the mesothelioma is initially diagnosed.  Stage 1 and 2 offer longer life expectancies because the tumor can still be located in its local and original developing site. Stage 3 and 4 mesothelioma offers a very slight chance to exceed the median life expectancy, since the tumor has already metastasized to different parts of the body. The stage of cancer plays a vital role in knowing the prognosis of the patient.

Another factor is the size of the tumor.  This is important because it let’s the mesothelioma specialist if it is still operable or not.  

Third factor is the mesothelioma cell type.  There are three types of cells and depending on which one the patient has and is being affected also is a big factor on a patients prognosis.

Fourth factor is the location.  Mesothelioma can develop in the lungs, abdomen, heart and very rarely the testicles.  The prognosis of a patient will be better if the mesothelioma is found in the lining of the lungs as compared to the lining of the heart.

Lastly, a patients overall health and age are absolute critical factors in the prognosis of their cancer. The mesothelioma survival rates are night and day compared to a person diagnosed with mesothelioma at the age of 45 to a person diagnosed at the age of 65.  

Mesothelioma Treatments Will Directly Impact A Patients Prognosis

 This is a hard fact to swallow but needs to be understood; mesothelioma cancer is incurable. The only thing physicians and mesothelioma specialists can do for a patient is to curate a treatment plan that will yield the best possible results on improving and lengthening the life of the patient.

The choice of treatment and how well a patient responds to treatment also plays a great role in their prognosis. At the end of the day, the choice of undergoing any specific treatment is totally in the hands of the patient. If a patient elects surgery as the basis of their mesothelioma treatment plan and the tumor is successfully decorticated, the recurrence rate of their tumor growing back is 50%.  Those who do not undergo treatment at all have an average life expectancy of roughly 4 to 8 months.

Undergoing a multimodal therapy, which with mesothelioma usually tends to be a trimodality treatment (surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy), can help the patient drastically improve their prognosis. This type of treatment has shown great success in the past.  Some patients who are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma cancer undergo this kind of treatment and live for an extended 16 to 19 months! Of course, the results of this treatment always depend on how the patient responds to it. Every patient is different and so will their responses be towards the various treatments administered.

The prognosis of mesothelioma cancer will never be identical from patient to patient as this is a multifaceted disease.  


·         Tan, W. W. (2014 April 23). Mesothelioma. Retrieved from

·         Mesothelioma Prognosis (2016 December 27). Retrieved from

·         Understanding Cancer Prognosis. (2014November 24). Retrieved from

·         Prognosis. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Christopher Visser is founder of Mesothelioma Treatment Community of

Editor's note: All information and the photo in this guest post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

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