Although mesothelioma, also known as asbestos cancer, is a rare disease, it is one of the most lethal forms of cancer ever diagnosed. The disease is also one of the most difficult types of cancer to detect due to its long period of dormancy. A mesothelioma patient can live between 20 to 50 years before the first symptoms show up.
When a patient does become symptomatic, doctors often lose precious treatment time because mesothelioma warning signs can mimic symptoms of common respiratory ailments. It’s also an aggressive type of cancer that can spread quickly from the affected body areas to other organs. These factors, when combined with the demographics of who is more susceptible to the disease, make mesothelioma especially deadly.
If you or a loved one suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may qualify for substantial compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, awaiting those who’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos illness. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about qualified mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more.
According to a 2009 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 18,068 patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma died between 1999 and 2005.
Though year-to-year figures may vary, the annual death rate of mesothelioma patients is an average of 14 per million. When compared, this is still a small percentage of the entire population. Yet, its particular lethality and relative rarity make mesothelioma a disease with extremely low survival rates.
Although survival rates in mesothelioma patients depend on a wide range of factors, a patient can expect a post-diagnosis survival time of between four months to a year and a half. Keep in mind, however, that there are always exceptions to this rule and each patient should talk to their physician about their own personal health and expectations.
Age and Gender Play Roles in Survival Rates
Generally, how long a patient lives after mesothelioma has been diagnosed depends on an array of variables such as age, gender, race, and overall health. For instance, if a patient is a male between 25 and 34 years of age and in good physical condition with no preexisting conditions, his chances of surviving longer than 18 months are promising.
Patients such as these benefit from early detection and surgical treatment of the disease. Keep in mind, however, that this age group is one of the least affected by asbestos-related cancer.
The average survival rate for older patients is bleaker. According to the American Cancer Society (ACC), even though 5-10% of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma can live for five years or more after the initial diagnosis, these individuals are usually young with cancers that can be surgically treated.
Since the average mesothelioma patient tends to be males aged 60-70 who were heavily exposed to asbestos during active work years, the cancer is already well-developed and can’t always be treated with surgery.
Older patients also may have debilitating health issues, such as cardiopulmonary diseases and hypertension, which help to reduce their lifespans.
Patients in these two age brackets (65-74 and 75-84) have the highest death totals. From the years 1999 through 2005, 12,150 out of the 18,068 recorded mesothelioma deaths happened to victims ages 65 through 84.
Survival Rate Facts to Consider
Generally speaking, it is typically difficult, if not impossible, to predict accurate life expectancy after a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Along with each patient’s case being different from the next, the disease is still considered a new and a unique form of cancer, and averages based on the tumor-lymph node-metastasis (TNM) staging process are still difficult to evaluate at this point. However, studies suggest that a patient’s post-diagnosis life expectancy will depend on a combination of several factors:
- Latency: Mesothelioma has an extremely long latency period, typically up to 20 to 50 years after exposure. This makes it difficult to get an early detection, therefore, shortening the survival rate. The sooner the disease is detected, the higher your life expectancy and survival rate.
- The Stage of the Disease After Diagnosis: Victims in Stage I or II of the disease have a much better survival rate than those who are diagnosed in later stages.
- Tumor Removal: Surgery is usually not an option as most cases of mesothelioma are discovered after the disease has advanced to its later stages. However, if the disease is caught early and the tumor can be surgically removed, the survival rate is usually prolonged.
- Age: As aforementioned, age plays a huge role. The younger the patient, the better chance they have in surviving longer and increasing life expectancy. Although rare, older patients in optimal physical health may have just as good of a chance as younger patients.
- Area of the Disease: Mesothelioma affects different regions of the body. The majority of mesothelioma cases affect the pleural area of the body, but there are instances in which the abdominal cavity and other body areas will be impacted by the disease. Since pleural mesothelioma is the easiest to treat, victims with this form of mesothelioma have a higher life expectancy. However, victims with epithelial mesothelioma have the highest survival rates of all forms of the disease.
Additional Information for Patients to Consider
Although the grim facts of survival rates of mesothelioma can be discouraging, these statistics do not reflect everyone’s situation.
For instance, an Australian victim named Paul Kraus has been living with mesothelioma after being diagnosed in 1997. This is just one of the several instances in which victims have gone on to defy the odds and live much longer than the average life expectancy of a mesothelioma victim.
Per the ACC, all victims should remember that current statistics are based on patients that have been treated many years ago. As science progresses, the life and expectancy and survival rate may improve for more victims as mesothelioma treatment options advance.
Getting Legal Help
If you’ve been injured by asbestos, keep in mind that there is a good chance that you’ll qualify for considerable compensation. Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on experienced asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. If you have questions or need additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.
Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney Paul Danziger
Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.