The survival rate for those with malignant pleural mesothelioma depends on a host of factors. For instance, age is often a big part of the equation, especially as this is a disease that targets older patients more than younger ones. Are these individuals more likely to have a lower survival rate due to the natural process of aging and weakening of the body that comes with it? This is just one of many questions to ask when reading your way through the numbers — especially if you have just gotten a diagnosis and you want to consider your own outlook.
One thing that you must consider is whether or not the disease has spread. The American Cancer Society notes that the spread of malignant pleural mesothelioma plays a large role in the survival rates, as well, and they divide it into three main categories. They are as follows:
- Localized cancer: This means that, while present, the cancer has not moved beyond the pleura and is limited to that area.
- Regional: While the cancer has spread to some degree, the spread is not dramatic. It may have moved to lymph nodes or other structures in the body that are nearby.
- Distance: Unfortunately, the cancer has really begun to move through the body. It may have reached structures that are quite far away from its point of origin, such as the opposite pleura, the bones or the liver.
Survival rates also depend on time. For the sake of keeping things consistent, let’s look at the five-year survival rate.
For localized cancer, the five-year rate among malignant pleural mesothelioma patients is 20%. For regional cancer that has spread but not far, the survival rate still falls to 12%. For those who have experienced a distant spread, the five-year survival rate falls again to 8%. If you want to look at the rate for all of those with cancer — combining all of the different stages and levels of spread within the body — the rate comes in at 10%.
While the 10% rate is often quoted and does help to give you an overall idea of what the future holds, it’s not the most accurate since it does not account for your individual condition. All cases are different, and how far the cancer has spread in your case is just one factor to consider. Never assume you are bound to the same numbers and likelihoods of survival as someone else.
As you can see, though, this is a very dangerous disease. If you have gotten diagnosed, it is wise to look into all of the legal options that you have.