Mesothelioma Prognosis - What Are Your Chances?

About 2000 to 3000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the United States. Once a patient receives a diagnosis of this cancer, his or her physician will most likely discuss the prognosis or probable course and outcome of the disease with the patient.

Factors That Determine Prognosis

Most times a diagnosis of mesothelioma is made when the cancer has reached an advanced stage as it usually takes a very long amount of time after the contact with asbestos before most victims start displaying the symptoms associated with the disease.

In addition to this fact, even when the symptoms of this cancer do eventually surface, they often resemble the symptoms of more general diseases like pneumonia, influenza and some other lung diseases. This fact coupled with the long delay in appearance of symptoms makes the accurate diagnosis of mesothelioma a very difficult one.

Thus as result of these factors, prognosis for majority of the patients is poor, but many doctors recommend treatment options like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy to help combat the disease.

Factors that affect prognosis include:

A} The stage of the cancer:

Medically the progression of the cancer is classified in form of stages. The stages range from stage one to stage four. The higher the stage the, the more advanced the cancer. Unfortunately, once the cancer has reached stages three to stage four, treatment options become limited and less effective. In stage four of the cancer, the cancer has spread to other parts of the body and the tumor has often deeply eaten into various key organs and tissues in the body. Stage 4 is not suitable for surgery. Generally the higher the stage of the cancer the worse the prognosis.

B} Histological type of cancer:

Histology refers to the basic cell structure and type of the cancer. Histologically, there are four types of mesothelioma:a}Epithelial,b}Sarcomatoid c}Biphasic{mixed} d}Desmoplastic{variant of sarcomatoid}
Epithelial mesothelioma has a better prognosis than the other types and the sarcomatoid form has the worst prognosis.

C} Age and general condition of victim

Malignant mesothelioma is often diagnosed in people above the age of 55 years old, although there may be exceptions. So some of the victims would have developed chronic diseases associated with old age like diabetes and hypertension and this worsens their prognosis.

D} The size of the tumor

E} The location of the tumor and whether the tumor is operable{whether it can be removed surgically}

F} The extent of other symptoms, including fluid in the lungs or abdomen.

G} Whether or not the patient is a smoker.

When discussing the survival rate of any cancer, references are often made to the "five year survival rate". The five year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who live at least five years after receiving their diagnosis. According to the American Cancer Society, the five year survival relative survival rate for mesothelioma is approximately 10%.The number has improved over the last five years up from the 9% reported at the end of 2002.
In general, the average length of survival reported throughout the last five years has been 10-11 months after diagnosis.

Bello Kamorudeen


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