Survival Rates for Mesothelioma

After being diagnosed with mesothelioma, you will be given statistics that are relevant to the percentage of people who have lived one to five years after they were initially diagnosed. This is how survival rates are determined for people with mesothelioma. It is estimated that about 40% of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma survive a minimum of one year.

Suppose you were diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, which is a type of cancer that develops in the pleura, or the thin tissue lining the chest wall and lungs. In that case, the survival rate for one year is estimated at approximately 73% but for five years, the survival rate is about 12%. 

Next, looking at the average survival rates for peritoneal mesothelioma, which is a type of cancer found in the peritoneum, a thin membrane around the abdomen. One-year survival is approximately 92% and at five years, it is reduced to approximately 52%.

Advances made in treating mesothelioma have helped people live longer than the average survival rates.

Survival Rate Factors for Mesothelioma Cancers 

Once somebody is diagnosed with mesothelioma, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration before determining how long the patient will survive. 

The following characteristics play an independent role in the final decision for the patient’s life expectancy after diagnosis:

  • Gender
  • Race (Ethnicity) 
  • Age when diagnosed
  • Overall health condition
  • Prior health records
  • Tumor location 
  • Disease stage

According to an analysis conducted in 2018 by the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank, they were able to identify a median survival rate of fifteen months from reviewing 888 independent cases. This was exclusively used for collecting data on patients with either peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. 

The findings revealed that the following characteristics and factors had a better survival rate:

  • Female 
  • Less than 45 years old
  • Stage 1 
  • Epithelioid cell type
  • Peritoneal occurrence
  • Surgery with chemotherapy treatment

Note: Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma who choose to undergo HIPEC have a 50% chance of living longer than the five-year statistic. 

What is Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC)?  

HIPEC is an advanced peritoneal mesothelioma therapy that has been shown to improve the chances of survival rates significantly for this type of cancer.

However, there are four different types of mesothelioma and where cancer originates plays a considerable role in the treatment plan. It has been found that patients with peritoneal mesothelioma have a much better survival rate than other mesothelioma cancer types. 

The procedure for HIPEC combines heated chemotherapy after having cytoreductive surgery. This is considered to be an aggressive procedure, and not everybody will qualify to receive it. When looking at the patients who do have this procedure done, more than half have lived at least five years. 

Studies suggest that heated chemotherapy increases the peritoneal survival rate to somewhere between 40 months and up to 92 months. The average survival rate for patients diagnosed with pleural tumors is less than 12 months.  

The other two cancers related to asbestos are testicular and pericardial, which only account for about 2% of all the asbestos-related cases. The rarest type known is testicular mesothelioma cancer, and the survival rate is estimated at approximately 24 months. 

Pericardial mesothelioma is also quite rare. In fact, so far, there have only been about 200 cases documented throughout all the available medical literature. This type of cancer develops along the lining of the heart and the average survival rate can range from six weeks and up to approximately fifteen months. 

The Stages of Mesothelioma 

When a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma, the stage of the disease will be used to determine the estimated time of survival. The best survival rates usually are for patients that have been diagnosed early on, such as stage 1 or stage 2 mesothelioma. Once somebody is diagnosed and begins immediate treatment, they increase their chances of survival. 

The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chances for qualifying for some of the aggressive treatments and surgeries used to prolong the disease.

If a patient does qualify for these treatments, they will have a better overall experience and outcome when undergoing aggressive therapies.  

However, pleural mesothelioma cases are usually diagnosed quite later, as stage 3 or stage 4. At this point, the tumor has been able to grow and spread from the original location. This, unfortunately, leads to fewer chances of survival since the tumor is much more challenging to treat at this stage.    

Pleural mesothelioma is much harder to treat once it has been diagnosed. The survival rates are not favorable compared to patients undergoing treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma. This is mainly because patients often aren’t diagnosed early enough to qualify for some of the aggressive treatments that help extend their life expectancy. 

When a patient is diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, there is no way to determine the stage of the disease because a staging system was not developed. However, a peritoneal cancer index (PCI) takes the data about the tumor and assigns it into one of three stages. The peritoneal cancer index is sometimes used to establish a patient’s survival rate after being treated by undergoing cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC.   

Tumor Histology – Mesothelioma Cell Type

When looking at the mesothelioma cell type, or tumor histology, doctors are able to see what impact cancer has on the survival rate. 

There are three different types of cells:

  • Biphasic
  • Epithelioid
  • Sarcomatoid

The most common type out of the three is epithelioid, which happens to respond best to various treatments and is considered to be the least aggressive type.

The average survival rate for patients with epithelioid cells is anywhere from 12 up to 24 months. The most aggressive of the three cell types are sarcomatoid, where the average survival rate is estimated between 6 to 8 months.   

The tumors that are classified as biphasic resemble different features from both sarcomatoid and epithelioid cells. The more cells the patient has that are epithelioid, the better the outcome for the diagnosis will be. However, the more sarcomatoid cells the tumor has, the result for the life expectancy will be decreased drastically. The average survival rate for patients with biphasic cells is approximately 13 months. 

Overall Health and Age 

A patient’s overall health and age at the time of diagnosis will play a significant role in how the treatments will work if used and how long the expected survival rate is. The older the patient is that was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer, the lower the survival rate will be. Younger patients under the age of fifty that have been diagnosed with this disease live on average one year. However, the percentage of patients who live a year is reduced from 55% to 30% when the patient is over the age of 75 years old. 

Below is the estimated one-year survival rate for mesothelioma cancer by age:  

  • Under 50      →   57.2%
  • 50 up to 64   →   51.2%
  • 65 up to 74   →   40.9%
  • 75 and up     →   28.5%  

Patients who are diagnosed at a younger age have a better chance of survival rates.

The older the patient is at diagnosis, the survival rate continues to decrease. The patient’s health condition should also be considered; the healthier they are, the more options will become available. 

The aggressive and effective therapies can only be used on patients that are strong enough to endure the process. This typically means that younger patients have better odds of being healthier and therefore can undergo these treatments if they qualify. This also remains the same for clinical trials; the healthier the patient is, the easier it will be to get accepted.  

How Does Gender and Race Factor In?

Since most of the exposures to asbestos happen in the workplace, and a high percentage of those jobs are industry-based, it is more likely that men have the highest risk for asbestos related cancers. This doesn’t mean that women aren’t at risk; it just implies that their risk is lower than those of men. 

However, women diagnosed with mesothelioma appear to have better survival rates than men with the same disease.

Even when looking at factors like age, race, treatments, and the stage of cancer, women still survived longer than men with the exact details. This could be due to the hormonal differences, but more research is still needed. 

It has been shown that women are more likely to be diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, which has better survival rates than pleural type cancer. Because of these findings, it has been recognized that women do live longer on average. 

Oddly enough, 95% of all the patients diagnosed with mesothelioma identify as being Caucasian. Hispanic and Black individuals are less likely to be diagnosed with almost any type of cancer. In fact, only 8% of all patients with various types of cancers are identified as being Black or Hispanic. 

Hispanic and Black individuals were not commonly found to be working in the types of fields that were the most susceptible to being in contact with high levels of exposure to asbestos. Caucasian men typically held industrial jobs that were affiliated with asbestos exposure.   

How Do I Increase my Survival Rate when Diagnosed with Mesothelioma Cancer?

Modern medicine has made giant leaps and bounds when it comes to diagnosing and treating mesothelioma in patients.

Many patients are living longer than the estimated survival rates, thanks in part to the advances made with the mesothelioma treatments. More and more clinical trials are being introduced regularly, which means that the focus has increased on treatments for this type of disease.

Keep in mind that survival rates are based on people who have already passed. People who are diagnosed today could have a better prognosis due to all the available treatments than the people who are now statistics.  

There are specific steps and measures you can take to help your success while living with this disease. 

Once you’ve been diagnosed, you should consider doing the following:

  • Speak with your doctor about the current clinical trials that would be a good fit for your prognosis.
  • Ask your doctor for a referral to build your strength through exercise and rehabilitation.
  • Improve your health and well-being through your diet and nutrition is vital for building a healthier body.
  • Along with your conventional cancer treatments, ask about alternative therapies that could also benefit you.  
  • Speak with mesothelioma specialists and counselors to keep your mind and perspective in place. A positive mindset can go a long way when dealing with cancer.  

Detailed Information About Mesothelioma Survival Rates

Along with survival rates, people often speak about life expectancy, which takes into consideration many different factors such as age, gender, genetics, health records, etc. All the data collected is used to determine the average time somebody will live; however, when being diagnosed with mesothelioma, that number can be significantly reduced depending on the age at diagnosis.    

If we look at a study conducted and published in Translational Oncology, we will find where over 20 years of data were analyzed. After all the details were collected, the final data showed that patients with peritoneal mesothelioma had five times the chance of a five-year survival rate compared to the patients with pleural mesothelioma.     

The most current pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma cancer survival rates are as follows:

73%92%One Year
23%74%Three Years 
12%52%Five Years
4.7%39%Ten Years 

Source: “Changing Pattern in Malignant Mesothelioma Survival,” Translational Oncology 
These statistics were based on the changing patterns found in malignant mesothelioma survival. It’s essential to keep in mind that the stage of diagnosis also plays a key determining factor in the average number for statistics. 

Survival Rates for Mesothelioma