Understanding Your Prognosis with Mesothelioma

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If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, you likely are facing many complex questions and decisions related to your health. It is natural to be concerned about your prognosis, in particular

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, you likely are facing many complex questions and decisions related to your health. It is natural to be concerned about your prognosis, in particular.

A prognosis refers to the degree to which the mesothelioma is expected to progress, coupled with the likelihood of patient survival. Often the prognosis is characterized in plain terms, as in good or favorable versus poor or bad. Simply put, when most patients ask for their prognosis, they are asking to know how long they are likely to live. Only a doctor can determine your prognosis.

Mesothelioma is considered to be an aggressive form of cancer. There is no cure for mesothelioma, though there are some long-term survivors. Mesothelioma carries a life expectancy ranging from 14-22 months, on average, for most patients. Getting diagnosed early can sometimes contribute to a more favorable prognosis.

Thanks to advances made in medical technology, many treatments can also help improve your prognosis. Like most forms of cancer, the prognosis for mesothelioma patients can vary greatly depending upon a number of factors. In this article, we’ll overview the main factors that can contribute to your prognosis with mesothelioma.

Prognosis in Each Stage of Mesothelioma

The stage at which your mesothelioma was detected is the most important determinant of your prognosis. Patients who present with symptoms and receive their diagnosis early on stand a more favorable outlook than those who do not detect their symptoms until later. The earlier the cancer is identified; the quicker treatment may begin. Further, more types of treatments are available earlier on that may become less viable at a later stage of mesothelioma.

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma and occurs in the lungs and consists of four stages. Other types of mesothelioma do not have numbered stages so doctors identify those less common types based upon having either localized or advanced stage mesothelioma. Most cases are diagnosed between stage three and stage four.

Stage One

Stage one mesothelioma means that the cancer remains in one, central location and has not yet spread throughout the lungs or other parts of the body. Patients at stage one have an average life expectancy of 21 months or more.

Stage Two

Stage two mesothelioma means that the cancer has spread from the point of development to more of the lungs, reaching nearby lymph nodes or parts of the diaphragm. Patients at stage two have an average life expectancy of about 19 months.

Stage Three

Stage three mesothelioma means that the cancer has spread throughout one side of the chest, reaching more lymph nodes and into the esophagus as well. Patients at stage three have an average life expectancy of about 16 months.

Stage Four

Stage four mesothelioma means that the cancer has spread throughout both sides of the chest and has begun affecting blood, bone cells, and other bodily organs. Patients at stage four have an average life expectancy of about 12 months.

Cell Types and Prognosis

There are generally three different cell type categories that play a role in determining your prognosis with mesothelioma.

Epithelial Cells

Epithelial cells are the most common type, occurring in about half of all mesothelioma patients. This cell type is the most responsive to treatment, the slowest spreading, and generally comes with the best prognosis.

Sarcomatoid Cells

Sarcomatoid cells are less common, and the least favorable type of cell in mesothelioma patients. This cell type is aggressive and not responsive to most treatments.

Biphasic Cells

Biphasic Cells include more than one cell type in one mesothelioma patient, and they differ based upon which of the cell types is dominant. This type is also referred to as a mixed cell type.

There are other, much rarer cell types that may occur, and they can come with a prognosis ranging anywhere from a few months to a decade or longer.

Prognosis For the Types of Mesothelioma

There are four different types of mesothelioma. These types are differentiated based upon the location in the body in which they originate.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural Mesothelioma occurs in the tissues that line the lungs. This is the most common type of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma patients can live, on average, about 18 months with treatment. Combining surgery with chemotherapy is a common treatment approach that can see a more favorable prognosis.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the tissues that line the abdomen. This type, while rarer than pleural, is a more aggressive type of mesothelioma. Patients that receive this diagnosis typically survive 6-12 months. However, some patients may survive up to five years if their cancer is treated aggressively.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of mesothelioma that occurs in the lining surrounding the heart. This rare form of cancer is quite aggressive, with a prognosis of about six months on average. Due to its rarity and aggressive nature, this type of mesothelioma is sometimes not actually diagnosed until after the death of the patient.

Testicular Mesothelioma

Testicular mesothelioma is the rarest form of mesothelioma of all. This form of cancer affects mostly middle aged to elderly men, developing in the tissues of the testicle. Prognosis for this type of mesothelioma can be upwards of 20 months, with some patients surviving much longer.

Additional Factors for Prognosis

There are a few additional factors that can play an important role in determining your prognosis with mesothelioma. For example, age can play a role, just as it can in many other health conditions. Patients over 75 years of age tend to experience worse prognosis than patients who are 50 years of age or younger.

Preexisting health conditions and the general wellness of a patient also play a role and can sometimes be exacerbated by age. Some treatment options, for example, may be eliminated based upon adverse effects caused by another, preexisting health condition. Additionally, women often tend to have more favorable prognosis than men. Non-smokers also tend to have a more positive prognosis than smokers.


While there is no cure for mesothelioma, many patients have extended their survival rates and improved their general prognosis beyond initial expectations. While very few patients have actually gone into remission, many have gone on to survive due to aggressive adherence to treatment plans. Symptoms may be greatly reduced and quality of life improved upon with the aid of a nutritious diet, stress reduction techniques, and supportive treatments offered by your medical team.
Remember, if you are facing a mesothelioma diagnosis, it means you are not alone. You have a caring and highly qualified team of medical professionals by your side. We know this care also comes with great monetary expenses. If you’d like to pursue the aid of legal professionals who specialize in mesothelioma claims, complete your free case evaluation to learn what your options are by filling out the form below.