Mesothelioma Survival Rate
The one-year survival rate for mesothelioma patients is 40 percent and the five-year rate is 10 percent, calculations that are significantly higher than just a decade ago. Increased survival rates are partially a result of advances in screenings, treatments and patient access to funds to explore alternative therapies.
Survival rates measure the percentage of people with who are alive a certain length of time after a diagnosis. They take all surviving patients into account, including those in remission and those still being treated. Even though survival rates are important to a patient’s prognosis (chance of recovery), they do not take into account individual factors, such as response to treatment or the most recent advances in treatment.
Mesothelioma survival is dependent on factors that include gender, age at diagnosis, cancer type and stage of disease. Patients diagnosed and treated in the early stages of mesothelioma have increased survivability. Access to asbestos trusts may also increase survival rates because they provide funding for treatments that may not be covered under typical health insurance plans.
Survival Rate Factors
Survival rates are based on a delicate balance of factors that range from patient gender to histology of the involved cells.
- Age – Older patients have more difficulty fighting the disease, but younger patients typically have higher asbestos exposure levels which leads to a more aggressive form of the disease.
- Gender – Males tend to have a poorer prognosis over females diagnosed with asbestos cancer.
- Location – Pleural mesothelioma patients typically have a more positive outcome predictor due to greater surgical options, followed by peritoneal asbestos-cancer patients.
- Stage – The anatomical extent of the disease is highly predictive of the survival rate because it indicates the spread.
- Cell Type (Histology) – Of the three cell types (epithelial, sarcomatoid and biphasic), over 50 percent of all mesothelioma diagnoses are epithelial.
How to Improve Survival Chances
The leading way to improve survival chances is by undergoing aggressive treatment as soon as possible after a diagnosis. Having readily available funds will make the transition into advanced medical care much easier. Mesothelioma patient use asbestos trusts to finance expensive therapies.
Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos is encouraged to pay attention to symptoms for possible mesothelioma, including a lingering cough, fever and chest pains. It is important to consult with a mesothelioma specialist if any symptoms appear. Early detection and early treatments are a key to long-term survival.
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- Paul Kraus – Considered the longest documented mesothelioma survivor, Paul Kraus was diagnosed in 1997 and continues to live with the disease. He credits his longevity to a “radical lifestyle change,” which included a new diet, exercise and a regime of nutritional supplements.
- Heather Von St. James – Diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma at age 36, Von St. James was told she would only live 15 months. She underwent a radical extrapleural pneumonectomy procedure to remove the damaged lung and recently celebrated her ninth cancer-free anniversary.
- Judy Glezinski – Diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 1990, Glezinski lived until 2009 utilizing holistic treatments including meditation, massage and nutrition.
- Kasie Coleman – After a peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis in 2010 and undergoing two Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (Hipec) treatments, Coleman was declared cancer free.
- Tim Crisler – At age 45, Crisler underwent an extrapleural pneumonectomy to remove the damaged lung that resulted from pleural mesothelioma. He is currently living in Georgia, more than a decade after his diagnosis.
- Wayne Neal – Neal depends on red tart cherries for a holistic form of healing after a peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis in 1991. Neal, who is in his 80s, still eats the fruit daily.
Diet for Mesothelioma Patients
A healthy diet and proper nutrition is fundamental for fighting the disease. Foods that are high in nutrition combined with a healthy diet is essential for mesothelioma cancer patients. Foods that include broccoli, mushrooms, carrots and kale will not eliminate the disease, but they do give patients a necessary dietary boost. Other cancer fighting foods include:
- Fish Oils – Omega fatty acids DHA and EPA slow the spread of cancer cells.
- B-complex vitamin – Also known as folate, B-complex helps stop cell mutation.
- Ginger – In addition to quelling nausea, ginger can kill cancer cell.
- Fiber – Known to starve cancer cells, fiber can also keep blood-sugar levels even.
Books Written by Survivors
Mesothelioma survivors have inspiring stories of courage, strength and hope. Their books offer helpful tips and sound advice.
- Surviving Mesothelioma – The inspirational story of mesothelioma survivor Judy Glezinski and her 18 year journey of treatment and hope.
- They said Months. I Chose Years! – Survivor James O’Connor tells his story of combining treatment and diet, supplements and spirituality.
- Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers – Diagnosed in 1997, Paul Kraus tells his story as the longest living mesothelioma survivor.
For access to these books speak to a patient advocate now.
- Carroll, Aaron E. “Why Survival Rate Is Not the Best Way to Judge Cancer Spending.” Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/14/upshot/why-survival-rate-is-not-the-best-way-to-judge-cancer-spending.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1
- Cancer.net. “Understanding Statistics Used to Guide Prognosis and Evaluate Treatment.” Retrieved from http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/cancer-basics/understanding-statistics-used-guide-prognosis-and-evaluate-treatment
- American Cancer Society. Nutrition for the Person With Cancer During Treatment. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorshipduringandaftertreatment/nutritionforpeoplewithcancer/nutritionforthepersonwithcancer/index#dhO7V9Ah7RfBcuCm.97
- Cancer.gov. Nurtrition in Cancer Care. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/appetite-loss/nutrition-pdq/#section/_164
- Webmd.com. Top Cancer-Fighting Foods. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/cancer/features/top-cancer-fighting-foods
- American Cancer Society. Survival statistics for mesothelioma. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignantmesothelioma/detailedguide/malignant-mesothelioma-survival-statistics
- Medscape. Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/759119_7