Dr. Raphael Bueno is the Chief, Division of Thoracic Surgery and Vice Chair of Surgery for Cancer and Translational Research at Boston’s Brigham and
Life Expectancy of Mesothelioma Patients
Life Expectancy of Mesothelioma Patients
Life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is typically 12 to 21 months. These numbers depend on factors including age, stage of mesothelioma, cell type, & overall health. Malignant Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer. Symptoms usually will not show up until the later stages of the disease. Life expectancy varies significantly & is based on a plethora of different factors. Long-term survival is extremely rare. Early diagnosis and excellent treatment are the most important factors in improving you or your loved ones life expectancy.
Mesothelioma is a sudden and devastating form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. This terminal disease occurs unexpectedly usually 20 to 40 years after asbestos exposure. Anyone can be exposed to asbestos from everyday locations, such as homes, workplaces, schools, and even by direct contact with someone who has asbestos dust contamination on their clothes. Family members of workers that were exposed to asbestos have also been shown to be at risk of this disease from exposure. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there is no evidence of any asbestos exposure level that is considered safe. There is no level of exposure that can decrease your chance of developing the disease. All levels of exposure may lead to this unfortunate disease.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and are experiencing mesothelioma symptoms, seek out a mesothelioma experienced physician as soon as possible in order to receive proper treatment. If diagnosed early on you or your loved one will have access to a wider array of treatment opportunities with more promising results. Additional information and statistics about mesothelioma can be found within this section.
Factors Affecting Life Expectancy
The life expectancy of a mesothelioma cancer patient relies on a myriad of elements and life circumstances outlined below.
Mesothelioma Staging by Type
A defined staging program is currently present only for pleural mesothelioma, the most common form of Mesothelioma cancer. No approved staging systems are identified for peritoneal, pericardial, or testicular mesothelioma. This has an affect on the life expectancy of mesothelioma patients. The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) has published general guidelines for staging cancer in its AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. Even when doctors do not have guidelines for a specific form of cancer, they can still refer to the general guidelines to help determine the stages of extremely rare cancers like peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma cancer Staging happens at medical diagnosis of the illness through a medical professional. Although the cancer may recede or progress, the stage of mesothelioma at diagnosis will not change. If a Stage 1 mesothelioma tumor spreads to other parts of the body, it is called Stage 1 with metastasis. If a Stage 4 mesothelioma tumor reduces in size or goes into remission, the stage will not change. While the initial treatment program may depend on the mesothelioma stage, actual treatment may vary depending on how the disease progresses.
Stages of Mesothelioma
Proper mesothelioma staging requires a variety of diagnostic examinations in order to identify the tumor area, overall size, and whether it has spread beyond the immediate location. The four stages of pleural mesothelioma cancer vary marginally within each system, but they could be generalized as suggested below.
Stage 1 Mesothelioma
Within stage 1, the mesothelioma tumor is generally in one location and the cancerous cells have not dispersed to lymph nodes or other organs and tissues. In general, surgical treatment may be an option for eliminating the cancerous growth.
Stage 2 Mesothelioma
Within stage 2, the mesothelioma tumor is larger and has probably intruded on surrounding organs, such as the lungs or even diaphragm. Lymph nodes could additionally be included. In this case, surgical reapportion might still be feasible, however much more difficult depending on the scope of the growth.
Stage 3 Mesothelioma
Within stage 3, mesothelioma cancer has infested a region or perhaps location, like the chest wall, esophagus or lymph nodes. Surgical treatment is typically not an option as a curative therapy, however various other treatment options may be attempted.
Stage 4 Mesothelioma
Within stage 4, the malignant mesothelioma cancer has dispersed to numerous locations, such as other organs and tissues throughout the body. In this stage, surgical intervention is no longer an option, and most treatment plans at this stage concentrate on minimizing patient discomfort and pain.
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How to Get Diagnosed | Life Expectancy of Mesothelioma Patients
For Mesothelioma, cancer specialists will approach a mesothelioma diagnosis by first testing symptoms. This initial testing is usually to determine if symptoms are being caused by a more common disease. As part of this process, the doctor will obtain a full medical history from the patient. This usually will include asking the patient about any exposure to asbestos in the past.
After these steps have been taken, the doctor will usually perform a series of tests, some of these tests could include imaging scans and blood tests. Most of the time if these tests indicate a potential for mesothelioma, a biopsy will be taken. Biopsy Tests are normally the only way for a doctor to provide a definitive Mesothelioma Diagnosis.
All forms of Mesothelioma have a poor long term prognosis. Catching the disease early on can potentially improve life expectancy. Having mesothelioma diagnosed before it spreads can increase the effectiveness of treatments and clinical trial options.
In light of the current difficulty in curing the disease, most research and development around all forms of mesothelioma is focused around improving early detection and diagnosis of the disease. This includes recent developments of new biomarker blood tests, which can detect the presence of substances that indicate mesothelioma may be present in the body.
Types of Mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma arises in the membrane which surrounds the lung, called the pleura. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of this deadly cancer.
Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdominal cavity, called the peritoneum. Peritoneal mesothelioma is less common but is more often found in women than in men.
Pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, which lines the heart.
After being diagnosed with Mesothelioma, it is critical that you consult with an experienced mesothelioma specialist to discuss your treatment options. There are a number of treatment options for Mesothelioma including surgical intervention, radiation therapy and certain forms of chemotherapy. Numerous surgeons have even developed progressive surgical options for mesothelioma cancer victims, including Dr. Harvey Pass, Dr. Harvey Pass, (NYU Langone Cancer Center), Dr. David Sugarbaker (Baylor College of Medicine) and Dr. Raphael Bueno (Brigham and Women’s Hospital). Research on the most effective regimens of chemotherapy continues and to date both Alimta and Cisplatin have shown to be very effective in some patients. ALIMTA is a treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a cancer that affects the inside lining of the chest cavity. ALIMTA is used with cisplatin, another anticancer medicine (chemotherapy), when surgery is not an option.
Some mesothelioma patients may be interested in exploring the latest experimental treatment options and clinical trials taking place. A handful non-conventional therapies are being studied and some may provide benefit to patients with malignant mesothelioma cancer. Understanding that all forms of mesothelioma are rare and considered lethal, it is critical to discuss all available treatment options with your family as well as the leading mesothelioma internists, pulmonologists, oncologists and surgeons.
Costs Related to Mesothelioma
As with all kinds of cancer, Mesothelioma cancer costs can be extremely high. The costs associated with the illness can be lumped into a few major classifications: diagnostic testing costs, treatment expenses, follow up, healing and care costs.
How much a household spends on mesothelioma care will likely depend on a range of elements. A few of these aspects consist of, but are not limited to: the specific medical diagnosis, the stage of disease at diagnosis, what is covered by insurance, as well as where the patient lives.
Asbestos exposure is the only proven cause of mesothelioma, so those who are identified with this fatal cancer are often entitled to financial assistance with everything from lost income to medical costs, as well as damages for discomfort and suffering associated to the illness. On behalf of the Asbestos Cancer Organization, we recommend that if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, that you consider taking legal action to assist you in this financial burden.
Learn more about the financial benefits that are readily available to mesothelioma cancer patients and their family today. Financial assistance options that are readily available to you can include mesothelioma cancer trust fund claims and a claim versus responsible members of the asbestos industry. Businesses that exposed you or your loved one to asbestos dust are accountable for your current condition. You should explore your legal right to settlement from an asbestos businesses liable for your exposure to the harmful chemical. Here at the Asbestos Cancer Organization we have partnered with a top mesothelioma law firm. The attorneys at Goldberg, Persky & White have been fighting and winning legal cases for mesothelioma patients for over 40 years. We highly recommend that if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma that they seek legal consultation with our partners at Goldberg, Persky & White. They are the best of the best. Their experienced mesothelioma lawyers are dedicated to fighting cases for mesothelioma patients and assist victims of mesothelioma in and out of the court room.
Asbestos Exposure & Cancer
The only known cause of mesothelioma to this date is asbestos exposure. Asbestos dust and particles that have been inhaled or ingested trigger inflammation and disruption of normal cell growth on a microscopic level. This chain of biological reactions leads to the development of mesothelioma cancer. Thousands of industrial, commercial and consumer products were manufactured with asbestos from the 1940s through as late as the 1990s in some cases. Most of these companies knew the deadly outcome that exposing their employees and customers to asbestos would result in. With this knowledge, many corporations still continued to utilize the deadly substance due to corporate greed, as it was cheaper and more efficient than the alternatives. Since then, many lawsuits have been filed against these companies on behalf of suffering mesothelioma victims. Because mesothelioma is a lethal cancer, the party that exposed you or your loved one to asbestos dust is legally responsible for their death.
Here at the Asbestos Cancer Organization we have teamed up with a top mesothelioma law firm in order to ensure that patients get the justice they deserve. The experienced Lawyers at Goldberg, Persky & White have been fighting and winning legal cases for mesothelioma victims for over 40 years. We highly recommend that if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma that they seek legal consultation with our partners at Goldberg, Persky & White as soon as possible. They are the best of the best. Their experienced mesothelioma lawyers are dedicated to fighting cases for their clients and will continue to assist patients diagnosed with mesothelioma in and out of the court room.
Most asbestos exposure originates from the thousands of products that contained asbestos. People who worked in heavy industries such as steel mills, foundries, power & chemical plants, refineries, paper mills, glass manufacturing, iron smelting and aluminum manufacturing from the 1940s through the 1990s were most likely exposed to asbestos dust. A lot of the insulation, refractory and friction materials used by these industries during this time period contained asbestos and those who worked in them were often exposed. Construction workers including laborers, insulators, brick layers, electricians, machinists, millwrights, plumbers, pipe-fitters, steam-fitters, iron workers, boiler makers, carpenters, plasterers, drywall workers and even superintendents, engineers and architects who worked in any form of construction from the 1940s through the 1990s may have been exposed to asbestos dust. There were numerous asbestos containing construction materials sold by the asbestos companies and many of them were staples in construction at the time.
The chances that someone was exposed to asbestos particles in these settings is not lowered even if a worker was never personally handling asbestos containing products. If someone worked in the same area where asbestos products were used, they typically also inhaled the deadly toxins. Most companies that manufactured or sold asbestos products did not provide warnings to their customers. In turn, many workers unwittingly introduced asbestos dust into their homes on their contaminated work clothing, subjecting their wives and even their children to enough asbestos exposure to cause mesothelioma. It has recently been found that even some common talcum powders including baby powders, shaving powders, cosmetic powders and hygiene talcum powders contained dangerous levels of asbestos sufficient to cause mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Stages Are Guides – Not Rules!
On behalf of the Asbestos Cancer Organization, we would like to notify you that the content on our website is not designed to be taken as medical advice or recommendations from a healthcare professional. The stages of mesothelioma can be useful in providing information on the prognosis or expected course of the disease. It is important to bear in mind that the staging systems themselves are guides not rules. At any mesothelioma stage, the cancer may be fatal.
Every patients treatment options will depend heavily not just on the stage of the illness, but also on the cell type and location of the cancer along with the patients age, gender, and overall health.
If you or an loved one was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer, it is critical that you consult with an expert who can help you understand what your situation means. Contact us to connect to reach an experienced mesothelioma professional today.
Common Mesothelioma Symptoms by Type
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Adenocarcinoma and other lung cancers
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Other cancers affecting abdominal organs
Coronary artery disease
Other heart-related cancers, such as synovial sarcoma
Top Mesothelioma Doctors
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Dr. Harvey Pass is a renowned thoracic surgeon that has dedicated his career to bringing increased awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure.
Dr. Robert Brian Cameron currently serves as the Director of Thoracic Oncology at University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, Department of Surgery.
Dr. David Sugarbaker is a world-renowned doctor and certified thoracic surgeon widely credited for developing the first tri-modal treatment approach for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Dr. Lary A. Robinson is currently the Director of the Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida.
As director of the mesothelioma program at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas in Houston, Anne Tsao M.D. is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on malignant mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is Commonly Misdiagnosed
Mesothelioma cancer is often misdiagnosed. This is partially due to the fact that many mesothelioma symptoms resemble the symptoms of other diseases. Mesothelioma is extremely rare and doctors may be more inclined to diagnose a more common disease first. Misdiagnosis can differ depending on the form of mesothelioma a patient may have or how common the displayed symptoms may be with other diseases.
On behalf of the Asbestos Cancer Organization, we would prefer if you consulted a professional medical physician for any advice related to treatment options and care. We care deeply about your situation and only want the very best for you & your family. We have some of the Top Mesothelioma Doctors & Clinical Trials listed on our website. Why not check out the Top Mesothelioma Doctors page or even the Clinical Trials page for more accurate information on who can help you & what clinical trials are available to apply for. We also have some of the Top Cancer Centers listed on our website as well.
Treatment Options By Mesothelioma Stage
Stage 1 Mesothelioma Treatment
Surgery is one of the most common treatment options for mesothelioma patients during a stage 1 diagnosis. The most common surgeries that are recommended include pleurectomy/decortication or an extrapleural pneumonectomy. Following these surgeries, doctors may want to evaluate the patient further to determine whether chemotherapy or radiation treatment is needed. However, it’s usually determined that those additional therapies are not required for Stage I Patients after surgical intervention.
Stage 2 Mesothelioma Treatment
Patients that are diagnosed with stage 2 Mesothelioma still have a reasonably wide range of traditional treatment options available to them. During this stage, the most common routes of treatment are chemotherapy and radiation therapy, although surgical intervention is still a possibility depending on the case. There are a few other treatment options that are still deemed experimental and alternative, that can be utilized in order to slow the progression of the disease, strengthen the immune system and minimize any stress and pain caused by the treatment procedures.
Stage 3 Mesothelioma Treatment
Options are limited during stage 3 Mesothelioma. During this stage, the disease most likely has spread across the body to other vital organs or even the lymphatic system. The most commonly recommended option by doctors at this point is to set a goal to improve comfort and quality of life.
Stage 4 Mesothelioma Treatment
Diagnosis during stage 4 mesothelioma is usually very discouraging and features very few treatment options. At this point, the disease has already progressed throughout the body and has infected many vital organs. During this time, patients experience severe symptoms and the primary focus of the medical team is to manage pain and discomfort. The most common route chosen by patients at this stage is finding a local Hospice program to enhance their remaining quality of life while also offering support to the patient and any family members affected. Patients that are in the 4th stage may also have the option to participate in clinical trials researching new treatments for mesothelioma.
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