The life expectancy of someone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma varies, as with any serious health condition. Some reports suggest that a patient newly diagnosed with the disease survives an estimated 12 months afterward, due to the late appearance of symptoms, which have normally already significantly progressed by the time a diagnosis is made. However, several treatments exist that may be beneficial for prolonging or improving the quality of one’s life while dealing with mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma occurs as a result of damage to the protective lining of the body’s internal organs, which is caused by asbestos exposure. The prognosis of patient’s with the disease is usually poor because of the damage subsequently done to the vital organs of the body. Mesothelioma is said to affect men with more frequency than women. This is likely due to exposure to asbestos prior to regulations of the 1970s being more closely associated with largely male dominated occupations such as mining and construction.
Early detection of mesothelioma is said to help increase life expectancy. However, the disease is difficult to diagnose until more serious symptoms occur, and often gets mistaken for other conditions such as pneumonia. Symptoms to watch for in individuals who have been exposed to asbestos include respiratory issues or trouble breathing, chronic coughing, chest pain, fluid accumulation in the chest or abdomen, weight loss, abdominal pain, anemia, bowel obstruction, or other health complications. Specialized testing such as obtaining a CT scan, MRI, or biopsy is often necessary to make a definitive mesothelioma diagnosis.
Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, certain treatments are available to patients to help extend their life expectancy including radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and medication. Sources such as the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and American Society of Clinical Oncology may have information available pertaining to promising treatments and other aspects of dealing with the disease.