Mesothelioma Survivors

Despite the often challenging diagnosis, mesothelioma survivors demonstrate that timely, individualized treatment plans can significantly improve life expectancy. Get valuable insights from long-term mesothelioma survivors who have courageously beaten the odds. Their inspiring stories are a powerful testament to the ongoing advances in mesothelioma treatment that bring renewed hope to patients and families.

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Can You Survive Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer with an average life expectancy between 12 and 21 months. However, it is possible to survive mesothelioma with some mesothelioma survivors living over 20 years or more after their diagnosis.

The life expectancy after diagnosis for each patient depends on several factors, including the stage at diagnosis, the patient’s overall health, and the chosen treatment approach.

If you or a loved one is facing mesothelioma, there is hope for achieving long-term survival through personalized treatments, participation in cutting-edge clinical research trials, and making informed nutritional decisions. Additionally, promising emerging treatments can improve outcomes.

Lung Cancer Group may be able to help you access treatment that can increase your chances of becoming one of the long-term survivors. Connect with one of our on-staff mesothelioma nurses right now to find out how.

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Mesothelioma Patients

Finding Hope in Real-Life Mesothelioma Survivor Stories

Facing a mesothelioma diagnosis can feel like an impossible challenge, but real-life stories of mesothelioma survivors shine a light on what’s possible.

Here are some remarkable stories of mesothelioma survivors, offering hope and inspiration for your own path to healing.

Mesothelioma Survivor: Paul Kraus

Paul Kraus was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 1997 and given only a few months to live. However, his determination and proactive approach to treatment led to his remarkable survival and advocacy for mesothelioma awareness.

Opting for a multimodal treatment approach, Paul combined lifestyle changes, experimental therapies, a strict diet, and other practices. He responded well to treatment and entered a state of remission.

Paul’s survival surpassed expectations, and he is considered the longest-living person with mesothelioma in the world, living over two decades after his original diagnosis.

Mesothelioma Survivor: Julie Gundlach

Julie Gundlach, a nationally recognized mesothelioma survivor, defied a grim diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma in 2006. After intensive surgeries with heated chemotherapy, she has been living with the disease for over 17 years, far surpassing initial expectations.

Julie’s determination allowed her to witness milestones like seeing her daughter off to college, a true miracle. She is a passionate advocate for asbestos awareness and a complete asbestos ban, educating the public about the dangers of asbestos exposure.

Julie’s story is a powerful testament to hope and resilience in the face of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Survivor: John Stahl

John Stahl received a diagnosis of stage 4 malignant pleural mesothelioma in 2019 and was given 12 months to live. Yet, even with this devastating prognosis, he survived after undergoing intensive and long-term biweekly rounds of chemotherapy.

John has far surpassed his original life expectancy, living four years and counting past his diagnosis.

Mesothelioma Survivor: Mavis Nye

Mavis Nye offers another remarkable mesothelioma recovery story. Diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2006, she was given a prognosis of only three months.

After undergoing chemotherapy with little success, Mavis began an immunotherapy drug trial that sent her cancer into remission. She has been living for well over a decade since her diagnosis.

Factors That Affect Mesothelioma Survival

Mesothelioma survival is influenced by factors ranging from the disease’s severity to the patient’s overall health.

Learn more about what impacts the chances of becoming a mesothelioma survivor below.

Age at Time of Diagnosis

Younger patients typically have better mesothelioma survival rates as they can often tolerate more aggressive treatments. Additionally, older patients may have other age-related health issues that can limit treatment options.

Overall Health

A patient’s overall health includes physical activity, stress levels, lifestyle choices, coexisting health conditions, and nutrition.

Mesothelioma Survivors Diet Tip

Boost your immunity and support tissue repair by prioritizing protein-rich foods over whole grains. A diet rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals can help ease treatment side effects for mesothelioma patients.

Good overall health improves a patient’s ability to withstand and respond to mesothelioma treatments, possibly extending their survival period.

Type of Mesothelioma

There are four main types of mesothelioma, each affecting the lining of specific parts of the body.

Here are the main types of mesothelioma, along with 5-year survival rates:

  • Pleural mesothelioma (in the lung lining and chest cavity) is the most common type and has a 5-year survival rate of 12%.
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma (in the abdominal lining) has a 5-year survival rate of 65%.
  • Pericardial mesothelioma (in the heart lining) is a rare type and has a 5-year survival rate of 9%.
  • Testicular mesothelioma (in the lining around the testes) is the rarest type and has a 5-year survival rate of 49%.

Survival rates can vary, with peritoneal mesothelioma typically having more treatment options and better outcomes.

Stage of Mesothelioma

There are four stages of mesothelioma, ranging from localized (stages 1 and 2) to advanced (stages 3 and 4).

In the early stages, when the cancer is confined to a specific area, patients have a better chance of survival. This is because they are often candidates for more aggressive treatment options, which can improve their chances of long-term survival.

Advanced stages mean the cancer has spread throughout the body, reducing survival rates. However, even in advanced cases, there is always hope.

Early detection is key for improving survival rates. However, malignant mesothelioma is often diagnosed at more advanced stages, which can make treatment less effective.

We can help you find top doctors for any stage of mesothelioma. Learn more by contacting our mesothelioma nurses now.

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Amy Fair
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Mesothelioma Cell Type

Mesothelioma can present in different cell types, including epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic. Epithelioid mesothelioma often responds better to treatment and has a more favorable prognosis compared to the other types.

Your health care team may take a biopsy of the cancer tissue to determine which mesothelioma cell type you have.

How the Cancer Responds to Treatment

The cancer’s response to mesothelioma treatment is a critical factor in determining survival. Some patients may respond exceptionally well to specific cancer treatment approaches, whereas others may not.

Here are general mesothelioma treatments and potential outcomes:

  1. Surgery alone: In early-stage mesothelioma, surgery can be effective in removing the cancer. The success of surgery alone varies, and its effectiveness often depends on the cancer’s stage and location.
  2. Surgery and chemotherapy: Combining surgery with chemotherapy can be more effective than surgery alone. This combination aims to remove the cancer and reduce the risk of recurrence, but success rates can vary.
  3. Radiation therapy: Often used as a palliative treatment to relieve symptoms, radiation therapy’s effectiveness in curing mesothelioma is generally limited.
  4. Immunotherapy: As a newer approach, immunotherapy shows promise in some cases, but its effectiveness varies. It’s typically considered in specific scenarios or clinical trials.
  5. Multimodal treatment: This approach, which combines surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, aims to maximize treatment effectiveness. However, the success rate varies and depends on individual patient factors.

It is important to understand that these success rates can vary based on individual factors, so it’s essential for mesothelioma patients to discuss their specific treatment options with their health care provider.

Improving Your Chances of Becoming a Mesothelioma Survivor

Surviving mesothelioma is a challenging journey, but there are steps you can take to increase your chances.

1. Find the Top Treatments for Your Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Seek mesothelioma specialists and oncologists to discuss the best treatment options for your specific case.

For many patients, a combination of treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy can offer the best chances for success.

Consider taking part in a clinical trial that uses innovative treatments for mesothelioma, as they may improve your prognosis.

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the patient advocates at Lung Cancer Group can help find top-quality medical care and secure financial aid. Contact a nurse right now to learn more.

2. Get a Second Opinion

Seek a second opinion from other mesothelioma specialists and health care providers. A fresh perspective can give you insights into different treatment options, provide expanded medical advice, and confirm the recommended approach.

3. Build a Support Network and Gather Resources

Join support groups to connect with other patients and caregivers. Within these networks, you can gain emotional support, information about mesothelioma clinical trials, advancements in cancer research, alternative treatment options, and more.

Counseling and therapy resources may help you and your loved ones navigate the emotional challenges associated with a mesothelioma diagnosis.

How Remission Works for Mesothelioma Survivors

Remission, which describes when the cancer’s progression is halted and the patient’s symptoms improve or disappear, is rare for mesothelioma. However, it may still be possible for some patients.

For mesothelioma survivors, remission can take different forms: complete, partial, or stable.

In complete mesothelioma remission, there are no detectable signs of cancer. This means that the patient’s tumor has disappeared, and they are considered cancer-free.

However, this does not mean the cancer is cured, as some microscopic cancer cells may be undetectable.

Partial remission involves significantly reducing the tumor’s size or decreasing the number of cancer cells present. While not all cancer is eliminated, the patient’s mesothelioma symptoms often improve, and the disease is under control.

When mesothelioma is stable, it means that cancer may still be present in a patient’s body, but it is no longer spreading.

The best way to increase your likelihood of surviving mesothelioma is by getting the best treatments. Our nurses can help find top specialists near you. Contact a nurse now to get started.

Speak With a Mesothelioma Nurse
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Amy Fair
20+ Years Helping
Mesothelioma Patients

Mesothelioma Recurrence in Survivors

While remission is possible for mesothelioma survivors, there is always a risk of recurrence.

The signs of recurrent mesothelioma can vary and may include the return of mesothelioma symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, unexplained weight loss, or fatigue.

Recurrent mesothelioma may also be detected through routine CT scans or follow-up appointments.

Depending on what treatment options you have already undergone, your medical specialists may recommend additional approaches.

Mesothelioma treatment options may include:

  1. Targeted therapies: Utilizing treatments like HIPEC (Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy) and cytoreductive surgery to target and reduce cancer cells within the abdomen
  2. Extrapleural pneumonectomy: Recommended for cases of recurrent and localized pleural mesothelioma, this surgical procedure removes affected lung tissue
  3. Intraperitoneal chemotherapy: Administering chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity to target peritoneal mesothelioma
  4. Radiation therapy: Employing high-energy beams to target and treat mesothelioma cells
  5. Clinical trials: Enrolling in research studies to explore innovative treatment approaches and potential breakthroughs
  6. Holistic treatment methods: Incorporating a combination of supplements and complementary therapies alongside conventional treatments
  7. Palliative care: Providing pain relief and symptom management, particularly when more aggressive treatments are not feasible

Find Support to Thrive as a Mesothelioma Survivor

Facing mesothelioma can be difficult, but mesothelioma survivors are living testaments to the power of hope, resilience, and the continued advancement in treatment options. Their stories inspire and remind us that survival is possible.

Having the financial resources to access top-quality care is often the best strategy in becoming a long-term mesothelioma survivor. There is always a reason to hope, especially when you have the right resources and partners in your mesothelioma journey.

Lung Cancer Group can help mesothelioma patients connect with top specialists, learn about promising clinical trials, and connect with some of the best mesothelioma lawyers in the country.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, we can help. Get connected with a mesothelioma nurse now.

Mesothelioma Survivors FAQs

What is the longest anyone has lived with mesothelioma?

The longest documented survival of a mesothelioma patient is over 20 years. Such cases highlight the potential for long-term survival, especially when patients receive an early diagnosis and undergo effective treatments.

Some patients have lived for years or even decades after diagnosis, demonstrating the potential for long-term survival despite the challenges posed by mesothelioma.

While it is a challenging cancer to treat, mesothelioma survivors demonstrate that it is possible to overcome this disease and lead fulfilling lives. Survival rates vary based on factors like early detection, treatment approach, and overall health.

Living a “normal” life with mesothelioma is possible. Many patients continue to work, engage in the activities they enjoy, and spend time with loved ones, thanks to treatment.

It’s best to adopt a proactive approach to treatment, manage symptoms, and seek emotional and social support to enhance your overall well-being.

While there is no cure for mesothelioma at this time, some individuals have achieved long-term remission or survival through aggressive treatments and clinical trials.

Mesothelioma survivors serve as inspiring examples of hope in the face of this challenging disease.

Mesothelioma is challenging to cure due to its late-stage diagnosis and aggressive nature. However, mesothelioma survivors demonstrate that early detection, personalized treatment plans, and ongoing advances in care can significantly improve survival outcomes, offering hope for those affected by this disease.

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.

  1. Ambrogi, M. C., et al (2018, April). Diaphragm and lung–preserving surgery with hyperthermic chemotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma: A 10-year experience. The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 155(4), 1857-1866.E2. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  2. American Cancer Society. (2023, March 2). Survival rates for malignant mesothelioma. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  3. Drevinskaite, M., Patasius, A., Kevlicius, L., Mickys, U., & Smailyte, G. (2020). Malignant mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis: a rare case and review of literature. BMC cancer, 20(1), 162. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  4. Gray, S. G., & Mutti, L. (2020, February). Immunotherapy for mesothelioma: A critical review of current clinical trials and future perspectives. Translational lung cancer research, 9(Suppl 1), S100–S119. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  5. Holzknecht, A., et al. (2022, May). Multimodal Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: Real-World Experience with 112 Patients. Cancers, 14(9), 2245. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  6. National Cancer Institute. (2023, May 17). Malignant mesothelioma treatment (PDQ®)–Health professional version. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from,-In%20This%20Section&text=%5B2%5D%20Intracavitary%20mesotheliomas%20are%20treated,be%20used%20for%20intracavitary%20mesothelioma
  7. Papi, M., et al. (2005, May-June). Malignant pericardial mesothelioma. Report of two cases, review of the literature and differential diagnosis. Tumori, 91(3), 276–279. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  8. Sahu, R. K., et al. (2023, July 4). Malignant mesothelioma tumours: Molecular pathogenesis, diagnosis, and therapies accompanying clinical studies. Frontiers in Oncology, 13, 1204722. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  9. Song, K. J., Flores, R. M., & Wolf, A. S. (2020, November). Taken together: Effective multimodal approaches for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Thoracic surgery clinics, 30(4), 481–487. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
  10. Wolf, A. S., & Flores, R. M. (2018, April). Mesothelioma: Live to fight another day. The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 155(4), 1855-1856. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from
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