What Is the Prognosis for Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma affects many Americans, usually due to asbestos exposure. Of course, after receiving a diagnosis, the first question that patients frequently ask is how long they have to live.

What is the prognosis for mesothelioma? Historically, the survival rate tends to be low. However, a patient’s chances improve with an early diagnosis and aggressive treatment.

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What’s the Prognosis for Mesothelioma Cases?

Mesothelioma is a somewhat rare but devastating, and usually terminal disease that most commonly results from asbestos exposure. The most common form is pleural mesothelioma (about 80 to 85% of cases), followed by peritoneal mesothelioma, which accounts for about 10 to 15% of cases.

In one study from 2017, researchers examined the survival rate for 10,258 pleural cases and 1,229 peritoneal cases. The survival rate for pleural cases was about 0.5% per year and 2% for peritoneal cases.

However, every person is different. With early diagnosis and treatment, patients can improve their chances of extending their life.

How To Determine a Mesothelioma Prognosis

Doctors use several factors to develop an accurate prognosis for patients with mesothelioma. Furthermore, they will use specific criteria to determine the stages of pleural mesothelioma, which also impact a patient’s prognosis. These factors include:

Tumor Location

The location of a patient’s tumor will provide important information regarding the progression of cancer and the probability of successful treatment. Pleural mesothelioma, the most common form, originates in the lung’s lining and is easier to treat than peritoneal, which occurs in the abdomen lining. Less common forms of mesothelioma, like testicular and pericardial, are very challenging to treat.

Cell Type

Generally, mesothelioma falls under three cell-type categories: biphasic, sarcomatoid, and epithelial. Patients with epithelial cell type have a better chance of survival than biphasic or sarcomatoid.


The earlier the diagnosis, the better chance a patient has of successful treatment. However, mesothelioma is often difficult to catch early because the first symptoms (dry cough, chest pain) mimic other, less serious, respiratory conditions. Unfortunately, this means that many patients don’t realize they have mesothelioma until it has reached the later stages, when it may be too late for effective treatment.

Additional Variables That Affect a Mesothelioma Prognosis

In addition to the factors we just listed, more variables affect a patient’s prognosis and future health, including:

Survival Rate

According to Penn Medicine, the survival rate for mesothelioma patients is usually four to 18 months after initial diagnosis, although some patients have lived for more than ten years. In terms of the five-year survival rate, the number is about 10%. However, as treatment and technology improve, those numbers are becoming much higher than they were a few years ago.


The chances of remission after a mesothelioma diagnosis is low. However, some patients have experienced remission. The chances of this happening improve significantly if the patient has an early diagnosis, never enters the malignant stage (where it spreads to other parts of the body), and receives adequate treatment.

How To Improve a Mesothelioma Prognosis

While there is no cure for mesothelioma, early detection and effective treatment can improve survival rates dramatically. One problem is the frequency of doctors misdiagnosing the early symptoms of mesothelioma. Therefore, researchers created what’s known as the Mesomark assay, a blood test that detects mesothelioma.

Treatment methods have also improved. For example, some forms of chemotherapy and radiation can target mesothelioma tumors more accurately. Also, experimental treatments like photodynamic therapy and immunotherapy show promise as well.

Call Our Team at The Halpern Law Firm Today

So, what is the prognosis for mesothelioma? Well, there’s no easy way to answer that question. However, patients have a better chance of increasing their life expectancy with an early diagnosis and treatment.

If you or a loved one suffers from mesothelioma, it’s essential to speak with a lawyer to determine if your case is eligible for compensation. For over 30 years David Halpern and his team have been actively representing the rights of victims of asbestos exposure. Halpern has investigated, litigated, and settled hundreds of mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer cases throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Call The Halpern Law Firm today at (800) 505-6000 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced attorneys regarding your mesothelioma case.

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