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Mesothelioma Survivors: Living with a Diagnosis

Key takeaways: While a mesothelioma diagnosis presents a difficult prognosis, we’ve compiled some survivor stories that are uplifting and inspiring.


Prognosis of a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Depending on a multitude of factors–overall health, the metastasis of the cancer, the time of medical intervention–the life expectancy after a mesothelioma diagnosis is about 18 months. The cancer is quickly spreading and presents serious risks to the patient’s quality of life. It’s a difficult-to-tackle diagnosis, and requires a tailored treatment plan to an individual’s life context and circumstance. Despite the challenges–physical, emotional, and financial–of a prognosis, some patients are able to survive and adjust. There is no “cure” for mesothelioma; however, there are some treatment plans that significantly reduce the spread and impact of the cancer. Here are some inspiring survival stories.



Emily was diagnosed with mesothelioma in her late 60s. After an extensive assessment of her condition, she was deemed fit to receive surgical removal of her pleural mesothelioma. Her thoracic cavity, along with her left lung, was scraped to remove a majority of the malignant tissue. This treatment was paired with rounds of chemotherapy (and now, immunotherapy and pain medications) and has proven largely successful. She is relatively active, works at her local gym, and takes care of her five dogs.

Here’s what she has to say about both her battle with mesothelioma and outlook she’s adopted since her diagnosis: “The attitude you have to take is – you can’t look for it to be cured. It may not shrink but as long as it’s not growing that’s a positive thing. I don’t make long-term plans. I make plans 3 months at a time. When the doctor asks, ‘How are you?’ I say, ‘You tell me.’ I can make the best of it and do what makes me happy and be glad I’m here. I’m not going to let it ruin my life,” (American Cancer Society).



Julie was diagnosed (after a mis-diagnosis of ovarian cancer) with peritoneal mesothelioma at age 35. She was initially given 6-12 months to live after her diagnosis. She underwent several rounds of intraperitoneal chemotherapy (meaning that the drugs were administered straight into her abdominal cavity) and had surgeries to remove the most flagrant tumors. The success of her initial treatments was rocky, and her prognosis oscillated. However, that initial diagnosis was 16 years ago: she’s lived to travel, see her daughter off to college, and collect several lifetime milestones, especially where motherhood is concerned.

Here’s what she has to say: “Then, you look back on doing that one-day-at-a-time thing, and all of a sudden you realize that you’ve accumulated a lot of days,” (CureMeso).


Legal Intervention and Monetary Justice

In Emily’s case, she was able to secure funds and transportation accommodations to alleviate the burden of treatment. Although she couldn’t necessarily file a lawsuit against the company that was responsible for her exposure, she was able to access a trust fund in order to gain financial justice. Julie had to quit her job and her husband had to take extended leave, and her procedures took a significant financial toll on her family.

Halpern’s mesothelioma attorneys can help you ease the financial burden of a mesothelioma diagnosis. By facilitating access to asbestos trust funds, mitigating lawsuits, and securing financial compensation for patients, we’re committed to financial justice. Call us at (800) 505-6000 today!


Written By Carina Filemyr

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David brenton


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