Mesothelioma Life Expectancy
Life expectancy for mesothelioma patients depends on how advanced the cancer is. When the tumor is detected early, the prognosis is much better. This rare disease is often referred to as asbestos cancer because it is caused by exposure to asbestos in nine out of ten cases. Mesothelioma attacks the lining surrounding the internal organs of the body, including the lungs, heart and abdominal cavity.
Mesothelioma Risk Factors
Exposure to asbestos is one of the main risk factors for mesothelioma. Every year over 2,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma within the United States. The majority of those who suffer from this disease were exposed to asbestos on a jobsite. Construction workers, building engineers, auto mechanics and railroad workers are prone to mesothelioma. The first signs of mesothelioma usually appear 30 to 50 years after being exposed to asbestos. Radiation therapy and exposure to zeolite may also trigger this rare disease.
Types of Mesothelioma
More than 75 percent of asbestos workers develop pleural mesothelioma, a form of cancer that starts in the lungs. About 20 percent of them are diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, a disease that attacks the lining of the abdomen. Pericardial mesothelioma is the less common form of cancer and it only affects a small number of people.
Life Expectancy for Mesothelioma Patients
A patient's life expectancy depends on several factors such as his overall health condition and his age. Mesothelioma histology, as well as the size and location of the tumor, stage of mesothelioma and progression of symptoms may also influence the prognosis. This disease is very difficult to treat because most patients find out about their illness when the cancer has reached advanced stages. Since most patients are age 55 or older, the treatment can interfere with pre-existing medical conditions.
Researchers have shown that people who smoke get a less favorable prognosis. Individuals who develop pleural mesothelioma have a greater life expectancy than those who are diagnosed with peritoneal, pericardial and testicular mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma symptoms are non-specific and resemble those induced by less serious conditions such as asthma, flu, emphysema and bronchitis. Mesothelioma patients usually present:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
Individuals who developed peritoneal mesothelioma experience abdominal swelling, nausea, loss of appetite, severe abdominal pain and bowel obstruction. The most common signs of pericardial mesothelioma include chronic cough, palpitations and arrhythmia.
Mesothelioma Survival Rate
The average survival rate for mesothelioma patients is 242 days. More than 45 percent of those who developed mesothelioma and had the pleura and lung removed were alive after two years. Only 10 percent of patients live for three years or more. If mesothelioma is detected in the first two stages, the chances of survival increase by 50 percent.
If you worked with asbestos, contact a doctor as soon as possible. He can help you find out whether you have mesothelioma or not, and then recommended you the best treatment options.