Mesothelioma Life Expectancy after Diagnosis, Survival Rate
Mothelioma survival rate and life expectancy of mesothelioma patients are always a big question mark. This is a very rare kind of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos, a very desirable fibrous mineral identified for its heat resistant property, is widely used in floor tiles, vehicle brake pads, various gaskets and roofing shingles. The material has long been used to insulate water pipes and heating channel in offices, buildings and homes. However, asbestos has been proven hazardous and even deadly and repeated or overexposure to asbestos will result to various health problems like mesothelioma cancer. Just like the other cancer types, cure for mesothelioma has yet to be discovered and once it is diagnosed, mesothelioma life expectancy often does not exceed 16 months.
Even if there is no cure yet, treatments are still available to improve the patient’s quality of living and lengthen their life expectancy. However, mesothelioma life expectancy depends on various factors like dormancy period of manifestations, age by the time of diagnosis, medical findings including projection factors like cigarette smoking, gender and histology. Here’s a brief review on how these factors affect the life expectancy of mesothelioma patients.
* Dormancy period – This has substantial impact on mesothelioma life expectancy. The inactivity period usually takes up to 50 years which only indicate that the progression of the disease is slow. Because of its slow progression rate, the disease is usually diagnosed when it has already reached the progressed stage where treatment is more difficult. During this stage, non-curative treatments are given to patients to ease the symptoms but life expectancy has significantly decreased at this stage. On the other hand, early detection of mesothelioma makes it possible to remove the growth through surgery and full recovery is possible.
* Age – Patient’s age by the time of diagnosis can compromise treatment choices because the patient may have pre-existing health problems. Most of mesothelioma patients are 60 years old and it was projected to drop in the next decade because of the entry of cases ensuing from secondary exposure when a family member or a friend brings asbestos from the workplace to your home. Hence, the older the person is diagnosed, the more difficult the treatment becomes, thus, health conditions and age during the diagnosis is also a vital factor for mesothelioma survival rate.
* Findings – Mesothelioma is categorized in three types- pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is the common type that affects the lining of the lungs while peritoneal mesothelioma affects abdominal lining. Pericardial mesothelioma, on the other hand, affects the lining of the heart. In rare instances though, testicular mesothelioma develops. Treatments and surgery can be undertaken depending on the tumor’s location. Because majority of the patients are suffering from pleural mesothelioma, most of the treatment procedures are designed for this type.
* Gender – Studies show that males are largely affected by this asbestos-caused cancer compared to females primarily because asbestos exposure is somewhat related to some occupational settings. Although many studies registered some female patients, they have better prognosis based on the collected data but the reason for this is not clear.
* Histology – This is another significant factor for diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. Patients suffering from epithelioid mesothelioma ought to have improved life expectancy compared to those suffering from biphasic or sarcomatoid histological subtype.
* Cigarette smoking – Newly diagnosed mesothelioma patients should promptly stop smoking because cigarette smoking greatly affects the treatment. Non-smoker mesothelioma patients often have longer life expectancy than those who previously smoke.
Scientists are intensifying their efforts to find the cure for mesothelioma and improve treatment procedures that have positive effects on the patient’s survival rate. Patients may go through treatment to fight the illness, kill cancer cells or eliminate the cancer. Moreover, several steps may also be taken to prolong mesothelioma surival rate. Here they are as follows:
Ø Get a second opinion – Oftentimes, mesothelioma is wrongly diagnosed. It could be that the patient is diagnosed of having a stage 3 mesothelioma and later on, another doctor may discover that the cancer is at stage 2. Wrong diagnosis creates a huge impact on the treatment choices as well as life expectancy.
Ø Regular treatment – This primarily includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. Efforts of improving diagnostic examinations to detect mesothelioma at the earliest developmental stage are explored to improve further the effectiveness of present treatment procedures.
Ø Experimental treatment – This refers to different therapies in improving mesothelioma life expectancy which includes gene therapy, hormonal therapy, photodynamic therapy and immunotherapy. However, these are yet at their experimental stages and only available in clinical trials.
Ø Alternative treatment – This usually comes in the form of yoga, massage, meditation and acupuncture and has been gaining more patrons not just among mesothelioma patients but everyone as well.
Alternative therapies do not actually cure the illness but may have the ability to reduce the pain and stress as well as improve the patient’s quality of life while living with the disease.
Although cure for mesothelioma is yet to be discovered, ways can be done to prolong mesothelioma life expectancy.