What Is a Mesothelioma Prognosis?
A prognosis is a prediction of the outcome or course of a mesothelioma patient’s disease.
A mesothelioma prognosis may depend on:
- How advanced the patient’s mesothelioma is
- Chance of recovery
- Chance of the cancer coming back (relapse)
- How fast the disease may progress
- How long the patient is expected to live
Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer with a poor prognosis. However, each case is unique, and some mesothelioma patients survive longer.
Prognosis of Early-Stage Mesothelioma
To describe how advanced someone’s mesothelioma is, doctors use staging, with stage 1 as the earliest and least advanced and stage 4 as the last stage most advanced.
Early-stage mesothelioma patients are generally defined as those diagnosed with stage 1 or stage 2 mesothelioma. At these early stages, mesothelioma is still localized, meaning it is contained in the area of the body where it originated, and it is relatively small in size.
Early-stage mesothelioma patients in otherwise good health often make excellent surgery candidates. Because tumor removal (resection) is the most effective life-extending treatment for mesothelioma, early-stage patients usually have a much better prognosis than later-stage patients.
Late-Stage Mesothelioma Prognosis
Late-stage mesothelioma is usually defined as stage 3 and stage 4 mesothelioma. Stage 3 is also known as regional disease. Some stage 3 mesothelioma can still undergo resection.
The malignant mesothelioma prognosis for patients diagnosed in these more advanced stages is poorer — especially in stage 4 patients, whose mesothelioma has spread to other organs. Stage 4 is also called distant spread.
Once cancer has metastasized, it becomes nearly impossible to cure. However, some stage 3 and 4 mesothelioma patients may still be able to receive life-extending treatment, such as radiation and chemotherapy, to improve their quality of life and extend how long they live.
Quick Facts About Mesothelioma Prognosis
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mesothelioma patients have a median survival of about 1 year from the time of diagnosis.
- The average survival time for malignant mesothelioma of all types is 12-21 months.
- One of the main reasons for mesothelioma’s poor prognosis is that over 65% of patients (according to data from the National Cancer Institute) are diagnosed after the cancer is already advanced.