Mesothelioma Survival Rates
Mesothelioma is well known as a rare form of cancer that affects thin tissue lining around abdomen, lungs, heart and in some rare cases, testicles as well.
If we look at the history and the reports presented by medical health experts, the prime cause of mesothelioma is excessive and repeated exposure to asbestos.
It can be due to ingesting or inhaling the asbestos content; these tiny fibers can usually enter the human body through esophageal or tracheal pathways.
In most cases, Mesothelioma cancer occurs in the mesothelium; that is well identified as a protective membrane covering the essential internal organs in the human body.
Almost three out of four Mesothelioma cases are observed to begin from pleural mesothelium that lies in the chest cavity; however, in few cases, it can also begin from lining around heart and abdomen as well.
But the terrible fact is that irrespective of its origin in any part of the body, the malignant cells are capable enough to cause major damage to the tissues around. With time, these cancer cells can also spread to several other parts of the body.
Studies reveal that it is difficult to observe any symptom of this disease at an early stage in life; people run for treatment only in the advanced stage and then it becomes difficult to diagnose the trouble.
It is observed that the five-year survival rate for Mesothelioma is somewhere around 5 to 10 percent only.
In most of the cases, patients suffering from this type of cancer die due to pneumonia or failure of the respiratory system.
Few patients are also observed to develop small bowel obstruction, and it happens generally at advanced stages when the tumor finds its path through the diaphragm.
Few patients lose life due to complications in the cardiac system; in this condition, the tumor extends to the pericardium that is a thin membrane around the heart.
Quick facts about Mesothelioma:
As already discussed, Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer; around 3500 new cases of this disease are reported in the United States every year.
When compared to the 220,000 new cases of lung cancer per year in the United States, the hazards of Mesothelioma appear to be low.
The 80 percent cases of Mesothelioma are reported due to repeated exposure to asbestos, and in most cases, patients don’t even know about the condition.
When a person spends time in the asbestos-containing air, the fibers find their way to lungs through inhalation process and due to their extremely small size, they accumulate around the thin lining of lung and pleura as well.
Further, these fibers can cause irritation to the pleura, and as a result, the human body suffers inflammation or may undergo abnormal growth of surface lining cells; this condition further leads to cancer.
The abnormal growth of mesothelial cells leads to the development of tumor nodules over the lung surface, and it further causes accumulation of fluid in the area between the chest wall and lungs.
Ultimately, the person starts feeling shortness of breath and pain as well.
Many other areas of the body can be affected in a similar manner and cause huge discomfort to the patient.
Here are a few quick facts about Mesothelioma cancer:
· Around 3300 people in the United States are diagnosed with Mesothelioma per year.
· Mesothelioma symptoms are not observed at an early stage of this disease; in most cases, they start appearing after 20 to 30 years of asbestos exposure.
· Reports reveal that men are at 4 times higher risk of Mesothelioma cancer as compared to the women.
· There are very rare cases of observing Mesothelioma patients below the age group of 45; the common age for the diagnosis of this disease is somewhere between 50 to 70 years.
· Studies reveal that almost 3 out of 4 cases of this cancer belong to pleural Mesothelioma; in other words, around 75% of patients diagnosed with Mesothelioma are affected with the pleural condition.
· 20% of cases of Mesothelioma are peritoneal, and within the United States, 250 new cases of this type of cancer are reported every year.
· Right from the year 1999 to 2015, around 45,221 cases of deaths due to malignant mesothelioma are reported in the country.
Asbestos as the prime cause of Mesothelioma:
Medical health experts report that asbestos is the prime cause behind increasing cases of Mesothelioma.
In general, asbestos is the most common mineral present in the products due to its higher resistance to chemicals, fire, and heat as well. Most of the people get exposed to asbestos at workplaces.
Few stats about asbestos are given below:
· Approximately 125 million people around the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace.
· Asbestos mining in the United States was stopped by the year 2002.
· Due to increasing cases of asbestos-related diseases, around 61 countries around the world have fully banned this material.
· Asbestos causes 12000 to 15000 deaths every year in the United States.
· Asbestos is commonly found in the roofing shingles, insulation, and many other automobile products as like brake pads.
· 107,000 people lose their lives every year around the world due to diseases caused by asbestos exposure.
Survival rates of Mesothelioma patients:
The survival rate is a common way of expressing the estimated survival time of a cancer patient, and it is generally derived from recent statistics.
As Mesothelioma cases are very rare, the survival rates for patients suffering from this disease tend to be lower as compared to the other forms of cancer.
Although with the development of novel therapies, the survival rates are improving day by day; but the risks are still more among patients.
You can also find many patients who do not pay attention to the survival rates because these rates are believed to give an idea just about the individual’s prognosis.
In case if you have the same thoughts, it is better to consult an experienced medical health professional to improve the prognosis.
Things to keep in mind while considering Mesothelioma survival rates:
They cannot be considered as a true indication of your diagnosis:
The survival rates are well understood as the estimates obtained from the combined experiences reported by the numbers of Mesothelioma patients around the world.
In simple words, it is related to the patients that refused to disease treatment or had worst experience in dragging survival rates down.
They can be considered as guidelines:
The medical health professionals make use of these stats as a guideline or tool to design their treatment plan.
These details are also used to explain prognosis to the patients and provide idea about how the disease may affect their lifestyle in the coming future.
However, it is important to understand that survival rates are not focused on the diagnosis process of an individual.
Don’t consider them as a set-in-stone:
In general, survival rates can change for both standard and new Mesothelioma treatments that are developed after several clinical trials.
In simple words, survival rates are defined as the percentage of patients that survive after diagnosis to a certain amount of time.
This duration is usually found to be somewhere around 1, 2, 5 or in some rare cases 10 years.
Experts reveal that 5-year survival rates are the best way to express true survival rates for Mesothelioma cancer patients.
It is generally between 5 to 10 percent; means that only 5 to 10% patients that are diagnosed with Mesothelioma are able to live up to almost 5 years.
These facts and figures can provide family members of a Mesothelioma cancer patient with a clear picture of the scenario ahead.
Note that, these rates are just a piece of picture; the true idea of the prognosis can be obtained only after consulting the specialists.
There are so many factors responsible for survival rates of Mesothelioma patients. Few of them are discussed below to improve your knowledge base.
Factors affecting survival rates of Mesothelioma patients:
There are numbers of aspects that can increase or decrease the overall survival rates of Mesothelioma patients. Few of them are listed below:
The Mesothelioma patient’s cell type usually plays a very important role in estimating the survival rate for the disease.
Medical health experts reveal that the tumor of Mesothelioma cancer is generally made up of three different types of cells; they are sarcomatoid, epithelioid, and biphasic.
In this list, the overall survival rate of patients suffering from epithelioid Mesothelioma are observed to be the best among all; however, the survival rate of patients affected from sarcomatoid Mesothelioma is observed to be worst.
Epithelioid Mesothelioma patients are observed to respond to the treatment in a more effective manner; hence, they live little longer as compared to other patients.
It has a direct concern with the behavior and shape of the cells that is responsible for grouping together inside the tissue.
On the other side, sarcomatoid patients are observed to have least survival rates, and it is just because these cells spread very quickly to the different parts of the body and hence, the condition becomes harder to treat.
Other than this, biphasic cells are made up as a combination of sarcomatoid and epithelioid cells.
Patients that are suffering from biphasic Mesothelioma with a higher number of epithelioid cells as compared to the sarcomatoid are likely to respond better to the treatment and naturally, have more survival rates as compared to those who have sarcomatoid cells in higher number.
Mesothelioma patients that are treated with surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy are likely to show 65% results for 2-year survival rate whereas this figure for 5-year survival rate is observed to be 27%.
Patients that are affected by sarcomatoid Mesothelioma experience the 2-year survival rate of 20 percent with a similar type of treatment.
The survival rates of the Mesothelioma patients also vary as per the first appearance of the Mesothelioma tumor.
Generally, the median survival time for patients suffering from pleural Mesothelioma is observed to be 12 months.
On the other side, patients that are treated with aggressive curative surgery experience higher survival rate with an estimate of 24 months.
Reports reveal that the survival rates for the peritoneal Mesothelioma patients are increased by a considerable level from the past few years.
It happened with the development of new treatments in the form of Heated Chemotherapy and Cytoreductive surgery.
Some stats reveal that the survival rates for peritoneal Mesothelioma patients are increased from 6 months to 5 years in an impressive manner; however, few patients also lived over 7 years after such treatments.
You may find very few studies supporting the effectiveness of treatment for patients suffering from pericardial Mesothelioma; it is just because the chances of this disease are rare.
One recent study reported that patients suffering from pericardiectomy were able to live up to 16 months after the surgery.
Researchers at present are making more efforts to study the cases of pericardial Mesothelioma; the chances are that they will succeed to provide more accurate stats about the survival rate of such patients in the near future.
The stage of Mesothelioma cancer can be identified as how long the disease has spread inside the body. Studies reveal that the farther the tumor of Mesothelioma cancer has metastasized, the harder it becomes to diagnose the disease with any kind of surgery.
Due to this, higher survival rates are usually associated with early diagnosis, especially at stage one or two.
That is why medical health experts advise starting the treatment at an early stage, but the biggest trouble, in this case, is that symptoms of this disease are not discoverable at an early stage.
In general, the early stage patients are likely to experience improved survival rate, and they also qualify for the surgery or other new age treatments. The stages of Mesothelioma can be described as:
· Stage one stays up to 21 months.
· Stage two takes the next 19 months.
· Stage three is for 16 months and
· Stage four goes up to 12 months.
In general, the patients suffering from pleural mesothelioma are not diagnosed in the early stages; in most cases, the noticeable symptoms arise only after the 3rd and 4th stage.
The terrible fact is that, at this stage, the cancer cells spread up to the maximum part of the body.
As a result, it is difficult to ensure effective treatment of pleural Mesothelioma and the survival rates also turn out to be worse.
If we talk about peritoneal Mesothelioma, there is no specific staging system for this type of cancer.
Few early researchers in the field of medical health have presented their own TNM systems for this type of cancer, and they help to describe the extent of cancer in patient’s body by observing lymph node, tumor size and spread out ratio.
One such system is well known as the Peritoneal Cancer Index (PCI) and defines peritoneal cancer into three stages depending upon tumor burden and TNM characteristics.
As per one study conducted in the year 2011, almost 294 patients suffering from peritoneal Mesothelioma cancer were treated using heated chemotherapy and cytoreductive surgery.
In general, the one-year survival rate for stage one patients was observed to be 94%; it is calculated as 87% for stage two whereas 66% of cases were observed for stage 3.
Some researchers also made analysis over a five-year survival rate, and it is 87% for stage one, 53% for stage two and only 29% for stage 3.
Age of the patient also plays an important role in deciding the survival rate for Mesothelioma.
The five-year survival rate was observed for the patients below 45 age group, and the estimates for the same are 40%.
In case if the patient is diagnosed with Mesothelioma after crossing the age group of 65, the survival rate usually goes down and in some studies, it is observed to be only around 5%.
The overall health of Mesothelioma patient can further change the survival rate by considerable level, and the quality of treatment he/she receives after identification of symptoms can also improve the survival rate by a considerable level.
One recent study reveals that the 55% patients that were diagnosed with Mesothelioma before crossing the age group of 50 responded better to the treatments whereas this ratio was only 33% for the patients above 75 age group.
This huge difference occurs just because of the patient’s abilities to undergo intensive treatment such as surgery; in general, the chances decay with increasing age.
Older patients are not the right candidates for complicated surgeries due to the high risk of complications and poor overall health.
Gender is another important factor in deciding the survival rate of Mesothelioma patients. Medical health experts reveal that women affected with this type of cancer usually have three times higher survival rate as compared to men.
As per one study conducted by National Cancer Institute from 1988 to 2013, it was observed that the survival rate for Mesothelioma affected men was 7% in case of men whereas this range was 15% for women. Note that, in most of the cases, the Mesothelioma disease occurs due to the asbestos exposure at the workplace and in most cases, traditionally, such jobs in industries are carried out by men.
Hence, the majority of cases for Mesothelioma cancer are reported for males. Although there is no strong evidence for why women respond better to Mesothelioma treatments as compared to men, some researchers believe that it is due to some hormonal differences between both.
Also, women are commonly diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma, and it has a better prognosis as compared to the plural type cancer.
It may appear strange fact, but the cases of Mesothelioma are more reported from while individuals as compared to the black ones. Almost 95% of such cases are from the white population.
It is also important to know that Hispanic and black people are rarely diagnosed with any type of cancer including Mesothelioma as well. Only 8% of these populations are diagnosed with cancer.
Although races are not the major concern for the Mesothelioma survival rates, it may appear more considerable at later stages.
It is observed that the survival rate for white patients is generally worse as compared to black individuals.
If we look at the five-year survival rate, it was observed to be 7.8 percent in case of whites whereas the stats are 12% for blacks.
On the other side, the 10 years survival rate for white patients is 4.4 percent, and for blacks, it is 8.2 percent.
Some studies report that a higher level of white blood cells or platelets with lower hemoglobin levels cause a negative impact on the survival rates of Mesothelioma patients.
Lifestyle also has a great impact on the overall survival rates of patients.
Medical health experts reveal that patients that had a history of smoking usually have lower survival rates as compared to the non-smokers.
Patients with the compromised or poor immune system are likely to show lower survival rates as compared to the patients that have to enjoy overall good health.
How to improve the survival rates for Mesothelioma?
As studies above, there are so many factors that play an essential role in deciding survival rates for Mesothelioma, but at the same time, there are several ways that patients can use to improve the life expectancy after diagnosis.
The type of treatment followed for Mesothelioma defines the life expectancy of this disease.
Some studies reveal that newer treatments such as heated chemotherapy can improve the five-year survival rates by almost 50%. Few other treatments such as immunotherapy also show some hope for improved prognosis.
Other than this, the pleural Mesothelioma patients that are treated with aggressive pleurectomy or extrapleural pneumonectomy are observed to have higher survival rates as compared to those who undergo chemotherapy alone.
The actual decision about treatment can be made by considering several factors, and it is better to consult specialized medical health professionals on time.