Mesothelioma Prognosis – Life Expectancy & Survival Rates
Article by Chris Mollo
The term prognosis is used to describe the likely outcome of a disease, how long a diagnosed patient is expected to live, and the quality of life expected during that time. This article discusses the prognosis for mesothelioma patients affected on a multitude of levels.
Once a patient is diagnosed, a doctor will likely discuss their prognosis, or probable course and outcome of the cancer’s influence on the body. The best way to avoid a poor prognosis is through early detection. As a result, the prognosis for the majority of patients is poor, but many doctors can recommend treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to help combat the disease.
In addition to the stage of the cancer and the age of the patient, other factors that affect prognosis include: The type of mesothelioma – pleural, peritoneal, pericardial or testicular The size of the tumor, the location of the tumor, and whether it can be surgically removed, the extent of other symptoms, including fluid in the lungs or abdomen and whether or not the patient is a smoker.
Though numerous factors affect a patient’s prognosis such as age, overall health, and the type of mesothelioma the patient is battling, the average length of survival reported throughout the last five years has been 10 to 11 months after diagnosis. Early detection of pleural mesothelioma can improve a patient’s mesothelioma prognosis considerably, and these patients have more extensive treatment options.
Patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in stage one or two generally have greater treatment options and a better prognosis. Pleural mesothelioma patients who are not diagnosed early enough for curative treatment have fewer treatment options, mostly limited to palliative treatments, designed to relieve pain and discomfort to improve a patient’s quality of life, rather than their prognosis.
If a patient is diagnosed once the disease has reached the advanced stages, treatment options are limited and prognosis is often compromised. A patient’s overall health status and age greatly affects the prognosis. Cancer that has not metastasized to other areas of the body gives physicians a lot more treatment options and improves a patient’s prognosis dramatically.
Pleural mesothelioma patients have a poorer prognosis if they are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, inability to perform daily tasks, weight loss, a low red blood cell count, a high white blood cell count, and high blood levels of a substance called LDH (lactate dehydrogenase, an enzyme). Pleural mesothelioma patients who experience these symptoms usually receive a prognosis ranging between six and 12 months.
The median survival of patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma from time of first dignosis is one year; in male patients or those with elevated white-cell counts, thrombocytosis or anemia, the prognosis is far worse. The presence of certain biochemical markers, as well increased vascularity or the presence of the SV40 virus in the tumor, are other indicators that the prognosis would be more serious. The fibrosarcomatus type carries the worst prognosis, while the mixed (a combination of both kinds) comes in between them.
However, many have overcome such a poor prognosis and have prolonged their life in a multitude of ways.
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