An illness as serious as mesothelioma affects more than a patient’s physical health; the disease takes an emotional toll on patients and their families as well. One question that heightens anxiety for many mesothelioma patients is, “What is my life expectancy?” Unfortunately, while medical researchers are making progress in understanding the disease, there are still no certain answers to this difficult question.
Mesothelioma Life Expectancy Following Asbestos Exposure
Estimating mesothelioma life expectancy is challenging, as the disease is seldom diagnosed before symptoms first appear. Many patients are surprised to learn that the first symptoms of mesothelioma may not present until 30, 40, or even 50 years after they were exposed to asbestos. By that time, a patient may be in the later stages of the disease, which limits treatment options and reduces life expectancy.
Mesothelioma Life Expectancy Following Diagnosis
While every patient is different, life expectancy with mesothelioma closely relates to the stage of the tumor. Mesothelioma tumors are staged on a scale from I to IV, based on the size and location of the tumor and whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other areas of the body.
In Stage I, tumors are small and localized, and the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes. For 50 percent of patients with Stage I tumors, mesothelioma life expectancy can extend to five years or more with aggressive treatment, which typically includes surgery to remove the tumor.
Patients with Stage II tumors have an average mesothelioma life expectancy of two to four years. For patients with Stage III or Stage IV tumors, mesothelioma life expectancy drops dramatically, and is measured in months rather than in years.
Treatments to Extend Mesothelioma Life Expectancy
Because there is no cure for mesothelioma to date, treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms, improving quality of life, and in some cases, prolonging life. Surgery is most likely to extend mesothelioma life expectancy, but in some cases, treatments like chemotherapy and radiation have also been successful in adding precious months to a mesothelioma patient’s life expectancy.
It can be devastating to receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma. In addition to making sure you or your loved one receive the best quality medical care, you should also seek legal representation. Contact Sokolove Law to learn how our mesothelioma lawyers may be able to help you win compensation that can pay for medical treatments while also holding accountable the companies whose actions resulted in your asbestos exposure.