Pleural Mesothelioma Prognosis is best when the cancer is detected in its earliest stages. Unfortunately, this asbestos-related cancer has a long latency period, during which it develops but is not symptomatic. As a result, the condition is often diagnosed only at the later stages. This limits treatment options, which in turn negatively influences the prognosis.
Factors That Affect Pleural Mesothelioma Prognosis
Many things can affect a pleural mesothelioma prognosis, including the size and placement of the tumors, the age and health of the patient, the amount of fluid in the chest, whether cancer cells have migrated to the lymph nodes or other organs, what type of mesothelioma cells are involved, the patient’s support system, and the course of chosen treatment.
According to some recent studies, around 10 percent of all pleural mesothelioma patients who go through treatment will survive for three to five years following their diagnosis. Approximately 5 percent survive more than five years.
In one clinical trial of 120 patients, with all patients undergoing surgery, followed by both radiotherapy and chemotherapy, 45 percent were alive after two years, and more than 20 percent made it past the five-year mark.
Those patients whose cancers have only reached Stages I or II have more treatment options and thereby better survival rates. Curative treatments include surgery to remove localized tumors in the lung, which is followed by radiation, chemotherapy, or both. These options are typically available for patients who are in otherwise better health.
Of course, surgery always carries a risk. However, those who have gone through pleurectomy and decortication surgery for pleural mesothelioma have greater than a 98 percent surgery survival rate. Those who have to go through extrapleural pneumonectomy surgery, which is much more radical, have a mortality rate of 6 to 30 percent, according to National Cancer Institute statistics.
Those patients who are diagnosed in Stages III or IV are generally limited to palliative treatment, which will relieve discomfort and pain and improve quality of life. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation can all be used on a palliative basis. Other patients decide to forego these aggressive forms of treatment and instead focus on pain relief, employing medication as well as massage, acupuncture, and other holistic approaches.
The type of cancer cell will affect the Pleural Mesothelioma Prognosis. Epithelioid cell type cancers are easier to treat and have the best survival rates after treatment. Biphasic or mixed cell types are less easy to treat. Sarcomatoid cell types are the hardest to treat and have the lowest survival rates.
In addition, patients who take part in clinical studies generally have a better survival rate than patients who go through conventional treatments. Some of the clinical trials patients can opt into may involve experimental treatments such as immunotherapy, gene therapy, intraoperative photodynamic therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, and testing of new chemotherapy drugs and/or combinations. Researchers surmise that patients in clinical trials are better monitored and feel that more is being done, giving them more confidence in the outcome. Attitude and a positive outlook can be a powerful contributing factor in Pleural Mesothelioma Prognosis.