Survival rate in mesothelioma
Being diagnosed with mesothelioma is hard news for the patient and their loved ones. And what can still be more painful is to report that the hope of survival is very low. Although the investigations have not been concluded, the evidence leads doctors to believe that on average patients survive only between 4 and 11 months after diagnosis.
Statistics on survival rates can be difficult to understand and to assume. In order to be better informed about the treatment options that are available to patients, fill out the form that appears below and you will receive a complete informative package from symptommesotelioma.com.
Since knowing the diagnosis is difficult and in the US, 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed, more and more clinical trials and experimental treatments are being carried out with the aim of improving this number. According to the American Cancer Society, 40% of patients survive more than 1 year and 10% no more than 5 years.
Period of latency
A factor that seriously affects the survival rate is the latency period between the initial exposure and the onset of symptoms. This period can go from 20 to 50 years, giving mesothelioma a long period to establish itself in the patient’s body. In addition, the early symptoms of the disease can be confused with those of other diseases. And by the time the doctor has diagnosed the disease, the cancer is at an advanced stage.
Phases of mesothelioma
The stage of cancer also impacts survival rates. Patients who are in stage I or II have optimal probabilities due to the diversity of treatments available. For example, if the cancer has been diagnosed early, the doctor may resect the tumor before it spreads.
Patients in stage 3 or 4 have little hope of survival because the cancer will have spread to other parts of the body, making the treatment much more complicated. Many patients in these phases receive palliative care to minimize their suffering and maintain their quality of life as much as possible.
Since this cancer has a long latency period, many cases are not diagnosed until they are in the final phase. Therefore, early detection is one of the keys to survival of mesothelioma. The medical book “mesothelioma” states that the patient complaining of limited breathing is more likely to survive than the patient who complains of pain. This may be because those with pain often have a solid tumor compared to those who have a pleural effusion who complain of limited breathing.
The type of treatment is another factor that affects the survival rates. Patients usually receive a combination of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy. These three options are the only ones that are medically accepted as treatments that are used to cure mesothelioma.
However, some patients, especially those who are at an advanced stage, opt for experimental treatments. Many patients choose to voluntarily undergo clinical trials. Although they have risks, they are an alternative to access new drugs intended to cure mesothelioma patients.
Additionally, patients can find hope in alternative and complementary treatments. These treatments include holistic approaches, such as reiki or yoga. Other alternatives are hydrotherapy, animal therapy or even psychic intervention. These therapies are not used as curative methods but as palliatives since they do not cure cancer by themselves. These treatments are regularly used in conjunction with other more conventional treatments such as reducing pain and stress.
Doctors treat mesothelioma aggressively when possible, knowing that time is never on the patients’ side.
Type and location
Another important factor that affects the survival rates is the location and type of cancer. TYPE of mesothelioma refers to the type of tissue that is affected by cancer. Patients with epithelial mesothelioma are more likely to survive compared to other types of cancer. The most common form, epithelial mesothelioma, accounts for 50% of cancer cases and usually has the best prognosis.
The second type of cancer is sarcomatoid mesothelioma, which accounts for 16% of cases. He tends to be the most aggressive and usually does not respond well to chemotherapy. This form has also shown an early relapse after the intervention.
The third type of mesothelioma is biphasic, which is a combination of the other two and accounts for 34% of cases. The treatment of this subtype will depend on the percentage of sarcomatoid cells and the epithelial variant.
According to the Mesothelioma Research Foundation, the evidence shows that of these three combinations, the one with the most favorable prognosis is the epithelial one that is suffered by a patient under 50 years of age and that has not compromised the lymph node.
In addition to the type of mesothelioma, another factor that affects the survival of mesothelioma is the location of the tumor. The patient who has better survival options is the one with a cancer located in the pleura. In pleural mesothelioma cancer is located in the layer of the lungs and accounts for 75 percent of cases of mesothelioma.
When the tumor is located in the abdominal area, the cancer is called peritoneal mesothelioma. This form accounts for 15-20% of cases. Another form is pericardial mesothelioma that originates in the pericardial layer of the heart. It is a rare form of cancer and accounts for 5% of cases. Additionally, testicular mesotheliomas have been reported, although it is so rare that between 1973 and 1999 they only accounted for 7% of cases. Since there are hardly any cases that have to do with the layer that covers the testicles, very little is known about their treatment and few studies have been carried out in this regard.
Additional factors in relation to survival
The general condition of the patient also affects survival. Young patients usually survive more than older patients, since they are also fighting against other diseases at the same time. However, any patient who suffers from other diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, will see how the survival rates decrease due to the limitation they have in the treatment options and the limitation in the immune system.
Statistics and data can be extremely discouraging for the patient, so it is important to know that the statistics are pure average and that they do not reflect the individual situation. According to the American Cancer Society “these numbers are based on patients who have been treated for several years. The improvements in treatments mean that survival statistics will be better for those who have been diagnosed. “