General statistics have suggested that the five-year survival rate for individuals with mesothelioma is nine percent. There has been ongoing research on how to improve the life expectancy of these patients, however certain factors have made it difficult to do so. The most troubling factor may be the long latency period before symptoms of the disease surface, which hinders one’s ability to obtain an early diagnosis. Because symptoms can take years, and even decades to become noticed, most patients are diagnosed during the most advanced stages of the disease.
Several factors affect the survival rate of patients with mesothelioma in addition to dormant symptoms including age at the time of diagnosis, whether a patient is a smoker, the presence of other health conditions, cancer cell types, the presence of fluid in the lungs or abdomen, tumor size, and the type of mesothelioma one may have. The incidence of the number of people diagnosed with mesothelioma is stated to have increased over the past several years. However, mesothelioma is not a common disease.
Patients may be diagnosed with pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is that which affects the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdominal cavity. With either type, patients are often given a prognosis of one to one and a half years to survive after diagnosis. However, results from several clinical trials across the globe have reported longer time frames.
Many promising therapies and treatments are expected to lead to means of earlier detection of mesothelioma and a possible significant increase in the survival rates of patients in general. The most commonly utilized treatments for mesothelioma cancer patients today include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
A number of resources are available online and from various organizations for patients and their families pertaining to dealing with mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases.