Prospects after Being Diagnosed with Mesothelioma

Being diagnosed with any disease or form of cancer is extremely frightening, and many people’s first question or concern is what their prognosis is. When discussing a prognosis, a person wants to know what their life expectancy is likely to be and what their chances of surviving the disease are. Sadly, mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive form of cancer that is often caught in later stages, making the prognosis generally less positive than other forms of cancer. Additionally, it is impossible to say exactly what a person’s prognosis is; however, there are a number of factors that can affect a person’s expected survival and life expectancy, increasing it or decreasing it.

Prognosis and Living with Mesothelioma

CancerWhen diagnosed with mesothelioma, certain factors, such as what type and form a person has, the stage in which the cancer was caught, and others, will play a large role in determining a person’s life expectancy. Sadly, those diagnosed in the later stages of mesothelioma and with the rarer forms of the cancer are likely to have lower life expectancies and less positive prognoses than those in earlier stages.

As a very aggressive form of cancer that is often caught very late in its development, the outlook for mesothelioma is not great for many patients. Although the percentages of people who survive one year and five years after diagnosis has risen greatly in recent years, the number of people who survive past one year is only 40% and only 10% for five years. As a result, the number of people who go into remission is extremely low.

Factors Affecting the Prognosis

When a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma, there are a number of ways in which a doctor may determine their prognosis. Some factors that are used include the following:

  • Overall health – a person whose health is relatively good besides the mesothelioma typically has a better chance of fighting off the cancer and living longer after the diagnosis than those whose health is not as good.
  • Form of Mesothelioma – while a majority of people have an epithelial form of mesothelioma, which has the best rates of survival, there are those diagnosed with the sarcomatoid or a mixed form of mesothelioma, both of which have lower rates of survival.
  • Metastasis – depending on how early the mesothelioma is caught, it may or may not have metastasized already. Metastasis occurs when the cancer spreads from the original location, such as the lining of the lungs or heart, to surrounding tissue or organs. A common place that mesothelioma metastasizes is the lymph nodes. When mesothelioma metastasizes, the prognosis for the person is not as good and treatment has to be more aggressive.
  • Stage of mesothelioma – treatment and prognosis is better the earlier this disease is caught. Typically, a person in stage one or two can begin receiving treatment fairly quickly and responds better to the treatment. Sadly, however, because of the long latency period of mesothelioma and the difficulty in diagnosing the cancer from symptoms, the cancer is not caught until a person is already in stage 3 or 4 of the disease, making treatment much more difficult.
  • Type of Mesothelioma – for those diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, which accounts for the majority of those diagnosed with this cancer, the prognosis is generally better than for those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma or other forms, such as pericardial.

Mesothelioma is an extremely serious disease that, tragically, affects a number of Americans each year. While catching it early is difficult, those who have been exposed to asbestos should get tested regularly to determine whether they have the disease and try to catch the cancer as early as possible

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