Mesothelioma Prognosis

A mesothelioma prognosis estimates how mesothelioma will progress in a patient. A prognosis includes life expectancy and survival rate, which are dependent on when the cancer is detected. The average mesothelioma prognosis is a life expectancy of 12-21 months and a 5-year survival rate of 12%. A prognosis is not a concrete prediction and can be improved through treatment and other factors.

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Average Mesothelioma Prognosis

Mesothelioma doctors provide a prognosis based on the mesothelioma type, stage, cell type, and other factors. The mesothelioma prognosis serves as an estimate of how the cancer will progress and includes an estimated life expectancy and survival rate.

Mesothelioma is often not detected until it has reached advanced stages. For this reason, the average mesothelioma prognosis is poor, with a life expectancy of 12-21 months.

However, it may be possible to improve a mesothelioma prognosis through treatment. Some types of mesothelioma are easier to treat, meaning patients often live longer.

Mesothelioma specialists will provide you with a prognosis specific to your case and recommend the best treatment options for your diagnosis.

It is important to remember that every case of mesothelioma is different. Prognosis is only an estimate of median life expectancy and survival rate, and some patients may outlive their prognosis.

Get a free case review if you need help finding a mesothelioma specialist or getting financial assistance to pay for medical treatment. We may be able to help if you qualify.

Best Mesothelioma Prognosis

Early detection, lifestyle changes, and treatments can all impact a patient’s mesothelioma prognosis for the better. For example, peritoneal mesothelioma patients receiving treatment have the best prognosis of all mesothelioma types with an average survival of 53 months.

Further, some patients may live for years or decades following their mesothelioma diagnosis. There have been reports of both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients living for over 15 years thanks to medical care. These patients defied an initially grim mesothelioma prognosis to become long-term survivors.

What Factors Influence Mesothelioma Prognosis?

The most influential prognostic factors of mesothelioma are how early the cancer is detected and how quickly treatment can begin. However, other factors impact your prognosis for mesothelioma.

Factors influencing mesothelioma prognosis include:

  • Age: Mesothelioma treatment is often rigorous and aggressive. Younger patients who are relatively healthy tend to have a better mesothelioma prognosis since they have a lower risk of complications from treatments.
  • Blood traits: Studies have shown that red and white blood cell and platelet levels in the blood may impact survival time. Mesothelioma doctors will do regular blood work to ensure your body is responding well to treatment.
  • Gender: Female mesothelioma patients have a better prognosis because, statistically, their bodies respond better to treatments than men.
  • Stage: Cases of early-stage mesothelioma are easier to treat since the cancer hasn’t spread through the body, meaning these patients can often live longer.
  • Treatment options: Some mesothelioma treatment options are invasive and aggressive, so patients who are able to withstand these treatments will have a better prognosis.
  • Type or location: Each type of mesothelioma has a different prognosis due to its characteristics and location in the body. Some types are easier to treat than others.

Mesothelioma Prognosis by Type

Each type of mesothelioma — pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular — has a different prognosis. This is because each type must be treated through different methods.

Learn about each type of mesothelioma and its prognosis below.

Pleural Mesothelioma Prognosis

Malignant pleural mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs (also known as the pleura) after inhaling asbestos fibers. It is the most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for over 75% of cases.

A prognosis for pleural mesothelioma is often dependent on what stage the cancer is diagnosed at. Pleural mesothelioma is the only type of mesothelioma that uses a staging system. Mesothelioma specialists will use the tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) staging system to determine how far the cancer has spread.

Learn about the life expectancy and survival rate of pleural mesothelioma at each of its stages below:

Pleural Mesothelioma StageLife ExpectancyTwo-Year Survival Rate
Stage 122 months41-46%
Stage 220 months38%
Stage 316 months37%
Stage 412 months26%

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis

Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, which develops in the abdominal lining, is the second most common type of mesothelioma. It also has the best prognosis of all mesothelioma types.

There are a number of effective treatments, like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, that may have a positive impact on a patient’s prognosis.

For example, peritoneal mesothelioma patients who receive cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) have an average life expectancy of 53 months and a five-year survival rate of 47%.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Prognosis

Pericardial mesothelioma is one of the rarer types of mesothelioma. It develops in the lining surrounding the heart. Because of its proximity to such a sensitive organ, pericardial mesothelioma has an incredibly poor prognosis.

Malignant pericardial mesothelioma patients have a life expectancy of two to six months following their diagnosis and a five-year survival rate of about 9%.

Testicular Mesothelioma Prognosis

Testicular mesothelioma is another rare type of mesothelioma. If diagnosed before the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body, a prognosis for testicular mesothelioma can be fairly positive.

Testicular mesothelioma patients have an average life expectancy of 46 months and a five-year survival rate of 49%.

Mesothelioma Prognosis by Cell Type

Mesothelioma cancer cells can be categorized into three different types of cells. These cell types are known as epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic. Because of their unique characteristics, each cell type influences a patient’s mesothelioma prognosis.

Epithelioid cells are the most common type of mesothelioma cells, accounting for about 70% of all mesothelioma cases. These cells grow fast, but they do not spread as quickly. These cells are also highly responsive to surgical treatment, making mesothelioma patients with this cell type have a better prognosis. The average life expectancy for patients with epithelioid cells is 14 months, and they have a 2-year survival rate of 65%.

Sarcomatoid cells are less common, accounting for about 10-20% of mesothelioma cases. The spindle-like shape of these cells makes them less responsive to some mesothelioma treatments and more likely to break off from other cells or metastasize. Patients with sarcomatoid cells will have a poor mesothelioma prognosis. The average life expectancy for patients with sarcomatoid cells is 7 months, and they have a 2-year survival rate of 20%.

Biphasic mesothelioma, also referred to as mixed mesothelioma, is diagnosed when both epithelioid cells and sarcomatoid cells are present in mesothelioma tumors. To treat this cell type, mesothelioma specialists must incorporate treatments for both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells. The life expectancy for patients with biphasic mesothelioma is about 10 months.

How to Improve Mesothelioma Prognosis

After being diagnosed with mesothelioma and receiving a prognosis, it is important to remain hopeful that your condition may be improved. The top mesothelioma doctors and cancer centers throughout the nation may recommend multimodal treatments, which combine chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, while also finding ways to improve health through lifestyle changes.

Mesothelioma Treatment

Cancer treatment is the most important way to improve life expectancy and mesothelioma survival rates.

Highly effective treatments for mesothelioma include:

  • Cytoreduction with HIPEC: Specialized for peritoneal mesothelioma patients, this procedure combines cytoreductive surgery with heated chemotherapy. It is a highly successful peritoneal mesothelioma treatment by improving average life expectancy to about 53 months.
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP): Considered a more invasive procedure for pleural mesothelioma treatment, it involves removing the infected lung and any surrounding tissue. Pleural mesothelioma patients who receive an EPP may improve their life expectancy by up to about 36 months.
  • Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D): Less invasive than EPP, a P/D removes any visible tumors in the lungs. Patients who receive a PD have improved their life expectancy by up to 34 months.

Other mesothelioma treatment methods include immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and clinical trials. In fact, doctors may recommend multimodal therapies, which combine surgery, chemotherapy, and radiology treatments into one plan.

Without treatment, a mesothelioma prognosis may remain poor, with most patients living less than 1 year on average.

Your mesothelioma specialist will develop the best treatment options for you.

Healthy Habits

While mesothelioma patients undergo treatment, it is crucial that they maintain healthy habits. These habits can help keep their bodies strong and may improve their overall health throughout treatment.

Habits that may help improve mesothelioma prognosis include:

  • Exercising regularly. Simply keeping the body moving can improve blood flow, reduce stress, and boost your mood.
  • Quitting tobacco use. Smoking can exacerbate mesothelioma symptoms, especially for pleural mesothelioma patients. Additionally, nonsmokers may be able to recover from various treatments like surgeries more quickly than smokers.
  • Speaking with therapists or support groups. As you are going through treatment, therapy and support groups may help you feel less alone and hopeful.
  • Working with a nutritionist. Cancer nutritionists can ensure you are eating properly while battling cancer to keep your strength up. Some cancer centers might have nutritionists available within oncology departments. Be sure to ask your doctor if you need help finding a good nutritionist.

These are just a few habits for patients to incorporate into their treatment plans. Mesothelioma doctors might have additional recommendations to help keep you healthy through mesothelioma treatment.

Finding Support With Mesothelioma

Getting a mesothelioma prognosis — as well as finding and paying for treatments — can be overwhelming. This is why the advocates at Lung Cancer Group are here to support you.

Our advocates can help you find a cancer specialist who can develop the best treatment plan and possibly improve your mesothelioma prognosis. We may also be able to connect you with an asbestos attorney who can fight for financial assistance so you can afford medical care.

Because mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure, mesothelioma patients and their families have a right to pursue legal options and financial assistance to help pay for treatment. Contact our team or submit a free case review to get started.

FAQs About Mesothelioma Prognosis

If caught early, can mesothelioma be cured?

There is no cure for mesothelioma at this time, but patients who are diagnosed in earlier stages have the best mesothelioma prognosis. The reason those diagnosed in earlier stages have a better prognosis is that there are more treatment options available and the cancer cells are more responsive to treatment.

Treatment is the most important part of improving a patient’s mesothelioma prognosis. Some patients have outlived a poor mesothelioma prognosis by years and decades thanks to treatment.

Can mesothelioma go into remission?

Possibly, yes. Though rare, there have been reports of mesothelioma patients achieving remission, and mesothelioma specialists will develop treatment plans aimed at remission.

Mesothelioma remission means the cancer is less severe and symptoms may no longer impact the patient. Patients who enter remission often have a better mesothelioma prognosis, outliving their initial prognosis by years or even decades.

What is the best treatment for mesothelioma?

Every patient diagnosed with mesothelioma will need an individualized treatment plan because each case of the cancer is so unique. However, many mesothelioma specialists will recommend multimodal therapy, which combines surgical, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy to improve a patient’s mesothelioma prognosis.

To find out more about different treatment options that may improve your mesothelioma prognosis, contact our patient advocates. Our team has relationships with top mesothelioma doctors and may be able to help you access top treatments — and financial aid — faster.

What is the average life expectancy after a mesothelioma diagnosis?

The average life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient is between 12 and 21 months. However, each case of mesothelioma is unique.

Patients should work closely with a mesothelioma specialist to determine their prognosis for their type and stage of mesothelioma. Specialists will also recommend the best treatment plans to improve mesothelioma prognosis.

Are there mesothelioma survivors?

Yes. With the support of various treatments, some mesothelioma patients have survived for 15-20 years or more after their diagnosis. These stories are rare, but working with your mesothelioma doctor will ensure you have the best treatment plan to improve your mesothelioma prognosis.

Lung Cancer Group was established by a team of caring advocates so those with lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases can get the help they deserve. Our site provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about lung cancer, its link to asbestos, and financial compensation available to patients. Contact us to learn more and get assistance.

8 References
  1. American Cancer Society. “Malignant Mesothelioma: Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging.” Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/detection-diagnosis-staging.html. Accessed on October 24, 2022.

  2. Enomoto, L. M., Shen, P., Levine, E. A., & Votanopoulos, K. I. (2018). Cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy for peritoneal mesothelioma: patient selection and special considerations. Cancer Management and Research. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6511620/. Accessed on October 26, 2022.

  3. Casiraghi, M., Maisonneuve, P., Brambilla, D., Solli, P., Galetta, D. Petrella, F., Piperno, G., De Marinis, F., Spaggiari, L. (2017). Induction chemotherapy, extrapleural pneumonectomy and adjuvant radiotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma, European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/ejcts/article/52/5/975/3805405?login=true. Accessed on November 8, 2022.

  4. Nazemi, A., Nassiri, N., Pearce, S., & Daneshmand, S. (2019). Testicular Mesothelioma: An Analysis of Epidemiology, Patient Outcomes, and Prognostic Factors. Urology. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0090429519300640. Accessed on October 31, 2022.

  5. Penn Medicine Abramson Cancer Center. “Prognosis.” Retrieved from: https://www.pennmedicine.org/cancer/types-of-cancer/mesothelioma/prognosis. Accessed on October 24, 2022.

  6. Sugarbaker, D. J., Garcia, J. P., Richards, W. G., Healy-Baldini, E., Mentzer, S. J., Liptay, M. J., Strauss, G. M., & Swanson, S. J. (1996). Extrapleural pneumonectomy in the multimodality therapy of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Results in 120 consecutive patients. Annals of Surgery, 224(3), 288-296. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1235368/. Accessed on November 3, 2022.

  7. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “Mesothelioma Types, Risks, Diagnosis, and Treatment.” Retrieved from: https://hillman.upmc.com/cancer-care/lung/types/mesothelioma. Accessed on November 3, 2022.

  8. Vimercati, L., Cavone, D., Delfino, M.C. et al. (2019). Asbestos exposure and malignant mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis: a systematic review and the experience of the Apulia (southern Italy) mesothelioma register. Environ Health. Retrieved from: https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-019-0512-4. Accessed on October 31, 2022.

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