With all cancer, the prognosis depends on how advanced the cancer is when it is first diagnosed. Survival statistics are usually given for each cancer stage, and a cancer patient’s prognosis is based on those statistics. While prognosis can differ greatly between cancer types, the prognosis almost always worsens significantly as the cancer stage becomes more advanced.

Stage is just as important for determining mesothelioma prognosis as it is for other cancers. However, mesothelioma statistics are difficult to find, and the statistics that exist are unreliable. This is because mesothelioma is relatively rare and is almost always diagnosed in its advanced stages. In addition, mesothelioma patients rarely have surgery, which is necessary to accurately stage mesothelioma. As a result, the prognosis for mesothelioma is rather unclear.

The General Prognosis for Mesothelioma

While there are three different types of mesothelioma, a staging system is only available for the most common mesothelioma type, which is pleural mesothelioma. Little data is available for the other two mesothelioma types, called peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma. However, pericardial mesothelioma, the rarest mesothelioma type, has the poorest prognosis because it involves the tissue surrounding the heart.

Although pericardial mesothelioma is the most dangerous mesothelioma type, the prognosis for all three types of mesothelioma is poor. In fact, most mesothelioma patients are given a life-expectancy of no more than 24 months after diagnosis, and many are not expected to live more than a year. However, many clinical studies have reported better survival rates than this. 

Other Factors Affecting Prognosis

Besides the mesothelioma stage, other factors can affect a patient’s prognosis. For instance, a patient’s age and overall health play a large role. In addition, patients with normal white blood cell and platelet counts tend to do better. Finally, the particular treatment type a patient receives can affect the patient’s prognosis.

Regardless of the prognosis, each mesothelioma case is unique. It is important to remember that statistics are not always reliable, and that statistics do not take into account many individual factors. In any case, no statistic can dictate what will happen to a particular patient.  

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Published November 17, 2011 by