Life After Meso, Part I: What is the Mesothelioma Survival Rate?
If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, you have come to the right place. This three-part series, entitled ‘Life After Meso,’ answers some of the most pressing and pertinent questions on the minds of those who have been recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, while also providing helpful information for loved ones.
Part I reports on the survival rate of mesothelioma victims.
Despite the many marvels of modern medicine, the mesothelioma survival rate has seen little improvement, even in recent years. Sadly, those who are diagnosed with pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma are given little hope for survival beyond a year or two after beginning treatment. Even worse, many individuals receive an even more grave prognosis—sometimes, as poor as a couple of months.
Mesothelioma is a terminal cancer—meaning that there is no cure, and the illness is ultimately fatal. Fortunately, mesothelioma is also extremely rare, though the number of new cases has risen dramatically since the manufacturing boom of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During this time, frequent and widespread use of the naturally occurring silicate known as asbestos resulted in millions of people being exposed to a dangerous carcinogen—later learned to be the primary cause of mesothelioma. It is reported that more than 90 percent of mesothelioma cases are the direct result of asbestos exposure.
The mesothelioma survival rate becomes especially grim after the two-year mark, with only an estimated 20 percent of sufferers alive two years post-diagnosis. This number dips dramatically again after the three-year mark, with only about 10 percent surviving. And a mere 8 percent are still alive five years after being diagnosed.
But experts believe that there is hope on the horizon. Ongoing research and constant advances in medical science give credence to the optimism expressed by many top doctors and scientists. At this very moment, multiple treatment studies are taking place in clinics all around the world. Additionally, the medical community has made significant progress towards understanding and curing cancer within the past decade—leaving many mesothelioma specialists to believe that we may actually be very close to eradicating the disease entirely, thus changing everything we know about the mesothelioma survival rate.
Additionally, there are cases of notable exception—mesothelioma victims who have beaten the odds by surviving for 10 years or more post-diagnosis. One such “survivor” is Lou Williams, who credits her last decade of life with the beauty of her surroundings—in addition to three rounds of traditional treatment.
Indeed, many alternative and holistic treatment methods remain yet untested by the medical community. Some of those are hailed as the catalysts behind stories of exceptional survival, perhaps offering hope that those who have broken out of the mesothelioma survival rate box may have discovered the keys to a long-lasting life.