Cancer is a disease condition that has relatively poor prognosis especially when compared to other health-illness states. Even though there are miracle stories of cancer survivors, their lifespan is considerably shorter than that of the average person. The same is true with mesothelioma, a rare kind of cancer that primarily affects the mesothelial linings of different body organs and cavities. Mesothelioma prognosis largely depends on the type of your mesothelioma and the cancer stage at which you were first diagnosed with the condition.
Fighting mesothelioma is a challenge primarily because majority of the patients seen by doctors are already in their advanced stages of the cancer. This greatly affects the availability of treatment options where they may only be left with palliative care. Upon diagnosis, doctors will have to make their best estimates of your survival time; hence, your prognosis.
The poor prognosis of mesothelioma is directly proportional to its cancer staging. The more advanced it is in its staging, the more difficult it is to treat. More aggressive cancer therapies cannot be performed simply because of the advanced stage of the mesothelioma rendering surgery utterly useless as the cancer cell has already spread to other parts of the body. It is for this reason that the earlier the mesothelioma is detected, the better is the prognosis.
On the average, an individual with a diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma has about 12 months survival time. The rare pericardial mesothelioma can have a survival time of 10 months. Generally, women and younger individuals have better prognosis than men and advanced age. An American Cancer Society study revealed that mesothelioma patients who were younger than 45 years of age had a 37 percent chance of outliving the median survival times of their respective mesothelioma types by at least 3 years. Only 1 out of 5 mesothelioma patients aged 45 to 54 years old are able to outlive their respective median mesothelioma survival times by at least 3 years.
At the very least, there is still hope for mesothelioma patients to outlive their median mesothelioma survival times. For example, well-respected paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 1982. He lived 20 more years, dying from an entirely different cancer in 2002.
There are 5 crucial factors that can affect one’s mesothelioma prognosis. These include the type of the mesothelioma, the stage upon which the mesothelioma was in during initial diagnosis, the type of carcinogenic cell that makes up the mesothelioma primary tumor, the associated symptoms, and the individual’s general state of health.
Generally, the following patient characteristics are often taken as good or favorable prognostic indicators:
On the other hand, the following patient characteristics are often taken as poor prognostic indicators:
It is important to understand that early diagnosis can truly make a difference in your prognosis. And while you cannot reverse time to make yourself younger again, you can somehow make changes in your lifestyle such as quitting smoking and taking care of your general health. These two prognostic indicators are not absolute and hence, you can take appropriate measures to make sure that you improve on these parameters.
Additionally, early detection cannot be overemphasized. The earlier your mesothelioma is diagnosed in its developmental stages, the better are your chances of living a significantly longer life than average. The key element that needs to be prevented is the spread of the cancer cells from its primary tumor location to other body parts.
Many individuals who have mesothelioma often enlist in clinical trials especially those who are already in the final stages of treatment. While these therapeutic modalities are still under investigation, you might be able to benefit from advances in cancer chemotherapy.
Quitting smoking is one way to improve your prognosis. Eating a healthy and nutritious diet especially one that can boost your immune system can also help. This is where a cancer center that specializes in mesothelioma can help.
There is hope for mesothelioma patients. The earlier their mesotheliomas are detected, the more aggressive the treatments are available to them, and the greater is the chance of outliving their median survival times.