The prognosis for mesothelioma is poor, with most patients living less than 1 year. The type of mesothelioma, stage of the cancer. And patient health are the three most important factors used to determine prognosis. Mesothelioma prognosis can be improved by receiving treatment as soon as possible and leading a healthy lifestyle.
Malignant mesothelioma is extremely aggressive and has a long latency period, which means it usually remains undetected until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. There is no cure for mesothelioma, though the prognosis has been slowly improving over the years. This improvement in prognosis is due to the development of experimental treatments, new detection and diagnostic methods, and other areas of research in clinical trials.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, learn about available financial assistance.
What Factors Affect Mesothelioma Prognosis?
There are five primary factors that doctors consider when determining a prognosis for mesothelioma patients.
Peritoneal mesothelioma (in the abdomen) has a slightly better prognosis than pleural mesothelioma (in the lungs). Pericardial mesothelioma (in the heart) has a very poor prognosis.
Of the three primary mesothelioma cell types, epithelioid mesothelioma is the most common and also has a better prognosis than sarcomatoid or biphasic mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma patients diagnosed at an early stage will have a better prognosis than those diagnosed at a later stage. By Stage III and Stage IV, generally only palliative treatments are given to relieve pain and discomfort.
If the mesothelioma has spread to other parts of the body from where it originated, the prognosis is much worse. Once the disease begins to spread, it is much harder to remove the cancer through surgery or kill it with chemotherapy.
Patients who are relatively young and healthy will have a better prognosis, because their bodies are better able to handle the aggressivetreatments. Older patients also tend to have other conditions that can exacerbate the disease or limit treatment options.
Improving a Mesothelioma Prognosis
Early detection is the best way to improve prognosis.
In recent years, research has helped to discover and develop new treatments for mesothelioma, which has done a lot to improve prognosis. However, advancements have been slow and incremental at best.
Improving Prognosis Before Diagnosis
Perhaps the best way to improve prognosis is to catch mesothelioma early. By using blood tests to identify certain biomarkers – that is, high levels of specific substances in the blood – researchers have had some success at finding new ways to detect mesothelioma early.
The first thing individuals can do is to understand the relationship between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. If you have been exposed to asbestos in the past and experience any symptoms of mesothelioma. You should talk to your doctor right away.
Improving Prognosis After Diagnosis
After a mesothelioma diagnosis, improving prognosis depends on the cell type, location, and metastasis of the tumors, as well as the patient’s age, sex, and overall health.
While some of these factors are unchangeable. You can certainly make sure you follow a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising regularly. Engaging in holistic practices such as meditation, massage, and yoga can also help alleviate mental and physical stresses, which may improve prognosis as well.
Some treatments have been shown to be more effective than others as well. For example, surgery coupled with HIPEC has been demonstrated to significantly improve the prognosis for some patients with peritoneal mesothelioma.
Finally, in some cases, clinical trials can provide a final hope for improving prognosis in some patients.
Mesothelioma Prognosis and Treatment Costs
Mesothelioma treatment costs can be significant, regardless of a patient’s prognosis. Some insurance companies may not cover the costs of diagnostic tests, clinical trials, or other experimental therapies.
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