Mesothelioma is an extremely serious and deadly form of cancer that attacks the thin tissue lining the lungs, the stomach or the heart (the mesothelium). The mesothelioma prognosis for an individual who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma is not good; not so long ago, mesothelioma sufferers were generally told that they could expect to live eight to 18 months beyond the diagnosis. However, with new mesothelioma diagnostics and medical treatments, the lives of many mesothelioma patients have been extended significantly.
Classifying Mesothelioma Prognosis by the Site or Cell Type
Since there are several subtypes of mesothelioma, the mesothelioma prognosis, life expectancy and treatment for a given patient will depend in part on whether he or she has been diagnosed with mesothelioma that is:
- Pleural Mesothelioma — the most common type (75 percent of cases), found in the pleura (a tissue sac that holds the lungs)
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma — strikes the peritoneum, another body tissue that surrounds the G.I. tract. Often misdiagnosed
- Pericardial Mesothelioma — damages the pericardium, a tissue sac that covers the heart (Only 5 percent of cases)
Mesothelioma diagnostics can also classify the disease by the kind of cancer cell that is causing the damage: epithelioid, sarcomatoid, or mixed/biphasic. The prognosis for a mesothelioma patient can differ depending on these cell types, with the prognosis being the worst for sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
Health and History of Mesothelioma Patients
Of course, a patient's medical history, general health and lifestyle also affect his or her prognosis. Smoking tobacco products — not surprisingly — can increase the detrimental effects of mesothelioma and other asbestos cancer diseases.
No matter what the details of a patient's mesothelioma, the future is fraught with problems, including medical bills and a severely curtailed life. If a mesothelioma diagnosis has befallen you or your loved one, contact mesothelioma centers to learn more about your medical and legal rights.