Prognosis for Persons Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
Time Is of the Essence
Tragically, due to the extremely aggressive nature of mesothelioma, the prognosis is poor for victims diagnosed with this cancer. Currently, there is no known cure for mesothelioma. Generally, the average life expectancy for mesothelioma victims range from 6 – 18 months, but it is important to note that many patients survive over 5 years, and there have been cases of mesothelioma patients living longer than 10 years.
It is clear that life expectancy varies from patient to patient because everyone is different. The unique circumstances and life history of patients who suffer from mesothelioma result in a wide divergence in life expectancy. A lot also depends on when a person has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, because the stage of the cancer is a determining factor in terms of treatment and life expectancy. Thus, if symptoms of mesothelioma are present, it is imperative that you or a loved one should immediately see your doctor.
New Treatments Being Developed
As researchers study the disease, new ways are being employed to treat mesothelioma. Life expectancy has increased somewhat over the years, so hopefully it will increase further in the future with new treatment modalities. Currently, there are surgical options where doctors have reported better statistics for selected patients, but bear in mind that at many of the cancer treatment centers patients must satisfy precise criteria in order to be treated.
The most common criteria centers on the disease being in its early stages. Given the long latency period for mesothelioma, there is often a delay in the disease’s diagnosis, which results in the cancer often being in an advanced stage. Therefore, it is critically important that there be no delay in seeing your doctor when you experience symptoms associated with mesothelioma. Knowing your diagnosis at an early stage allows you to immediately investigate treatment options.
The current available treatments, which include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, can help ease a patient’s symptoms and thereby improve a patient’s quality of life. These treatment methods can also prolong a patient’s life. However, there are no existing cures for mesothelioma. Nevertheless, hope should not be lost merely because of discouraging statistics. Again, it bears emphasis that everyone is different. Some individuals respond in promising ways to the existing treatments. They may live months or years beyond the normal life expectancy range following their mesothelioma diagnosis.
Clinical Trials to Test New Treatment Options
One promising development with this devastating cancer is that the more researchers understand it, the more treatment options become available. Never before has there been so much research with respect to mesothelioma. As a result, there are numerous clinical trials, which are available to qualified patients who meet specific parameters and criteria.
Clinical trials test new drugs and treatments. Currently, there are in excess of 100 mesothelioma clinical trials ongoing to evaluate new treatments. While clinical trials are not without risk due to the experimental nature of clinical trials, if you qualify, you will receive some of the most up-to-date therapies and drugs available. You will also likely receive some of the highest quality medical care. Many patients also take solace in the fact that the research conducted in clinical trials can lead to enhanced treatment for all mesothelioma patients, and even someday lead to a cure. We urge you to discuss the viability of participation in clinical trials with your doctor.