Mesothelioma Life Expectancy-What determines It?

Medical science has tried to increase the life expectancy for mesothelioma patients for decades. Since there is presently no known definitive cure for mesothelioma, the goal of the presently available intensive treatment for mesothelioma patients is to help prolong their life expectancy or improve the patient's overall quality of life.

What are the factors that determine a Mesothelioma Patient's Life Expectancy? This type of cancer is a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient is affected by numerous factors including:

* Latency period - The asbestos fibers that cause mesothelioma over time can lay dormant in the body for up to 50 years before causing any significant symptom or sign in the patient. This long period of latency often results in a late diagnosis. Most of the time the diagnosis is not made until the tumor has reached an advanced stage, making mesothelioma treatment difficult and sometimes ineffective. Mesothelioma patients diagnosed in later stages will typically receive palliative treatments rather than curative, which serve to make the patient more comfortable and increase their quality of life rather than cure the disease.

* Age at the time of Diagnosis- Research has shown that the average age of a mesothelioma patient is 60. If fact, more than 75 percent of mesothelioma cases diagnosed in the United States occur in men age 55 or older. However, some researchers believe the average age is dropping due to the influx of cases from secondary exposure. When an older person develops mesothelioma cancer, the presence of other health- age related problems may lead to certain challenges during treatment as their treatment might require modifications. These might include heart disease, additional lung ailments, and high blood pressure. Advanced age and the presence of other diseases can significantly affect and reduce patient's life span.

* The Type of Mesothelioma - There are three common types of mesothelioma that mesothelioma victims usually develop. The commonest form is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs. Other forms of the disease include peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma, which affect the lining of the abdomen and heart. Since pleural mesothelioma affects the most mesothelioma patients, more knowledge and research about this form of the cancer is available to utilize when detailing a treatment plan, often making the life expectancy for pleural mesothelioma patients longer.

* Smoking - Smoking greatly decreases the life span of people diagnosed with mesothelioma. Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma should quit smoking immediately. Improving Life Expectancy

Those dedicated to researching mesothelioma are constantly testing new ways to improve the life expectancy of patients with the disease. This is carried out mainly through clinical trials, which test new drugs and treatments. Many promising alternatives to traditional treatments have been developed from clinical trials and patients often benefit from participating. Tests for early detection of mesothelioma are also being developed, which may result in more effective treatment of the disease.

The life expectancy of mesothelioma patients can also be affected by treatment. Mesothelioma patients may elect to undergo treatment to combat the disease, remove the cancer and kill cancerous cells. A doctor will make treatment recommendations based on a series of factors. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the most common mesothelioma treatment options for patients.

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