Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Caused by asbestos, mesothelioma has no known cure and has a very poor prognosis.

According to a 2017 report by the Centers for Disease Control, 2,400 – 2,800 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the United States each year. People who have worked with or been exposed to asbestos have the highest risk of developing mesothelioma. After being exposed to asbestos, mesothelioma symptoms can take 20 – 50 years to appear.

The life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is poor, as there is no cure for the disease. The stage of the disease, cell type, and location of the tumor(s) are the most important factors for a patient’s survival. Factors such as the patient’s overall health, age, and whether the cancer has spread also impact prognosis.
Average life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is 12 to 21 months. How long a patient lives depends on several factors including age, stage of the disease, and overall health. Approximately 40 percent of patients live past one year; 9 percent live longer than 5 years.

Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer whose symptoms typically don’t show up until later stages. Therefore, life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is generally short, especially without treatment.

Life expectancy varies significantly from patient to patient based on a number of individual factors and circumstances. Long-term survival is extremely rare, with fewer than 10 percent of patients living beyond 5 years. Early detection and quality health care are the most important factors in improving one’s prognosis.


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