Early detection is the best way for patients to avoid a poor mesothelioma
prognosis, says the American Cancer Society.
August 25, 2010 – Every year in the United States, approximately 3,000
individuals are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a
relatively rare cancer, caused by asbestos exposure, that often comes with a
Early detection can improve the chances of a good prognosis and the mesothelioma patient’s
When a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma, the doctor will discuss their
condition. The best way to avoid a poor prognosis is through early detection,
says the American Cancer Society.
Unfortunately, by the time symptoms of mesothelioma
appear, the disease has often advanced to an inoperable stage. The prognosis is
likely to be better for patients that can be operated on, but that requires the
cancer to be caught in an early stage of development.
Prognosis depends on the cancer stage
Mesothelioma doctors address this
asbestos-related cancer in terms of the stages of mesothelioma, ranging
from Stage One to Stage Four. Once the disease has reached its later stages,
treatment options become more limited and less effective.
options, therefore, depend on what stage the patient’s cancer is discovered
in. Treatment can include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
When a patient is diagnosed with Stage Four mesothelioma, their health
condition often rules out the possibility of surgery. The prognosis is poor and
treatment is limited to eliminating pain and improving the patient’s quality of
However, no matter what stage mesothelioma is caught at, the disease can
still be very hard to treat, making an accurate prognosis challenging. Every
case has individual characteristics that make generalizations difficult.
Other factors affecting prognosis
In addition to what stage the cancer is in, other factors that affect the
prognosis of a mesothelioma patient include the age of the patient and the type
of mesothelioma – pleural,
peritoneal, pericardial or testicular.
The average survival times for individuals with mesothelioma have been
between four and 18 months. But according to the American Cancer Society, about
one out of 10 people with mesothelioma (10 percent) live at least five years
after being diagnosed.
That percentage has improved in the last five years, up from nine percent
reported at the end of 2002. Throughout the 1990s, it was rare for a
mesothelioma patient to survive more than a year being diagnosed.
Thanks to recent mesothelioma clinical
trials and research, better treatments have been developed, meaning that the
prognosis for patients now may be greater than ever.
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