Mesothelioma: Survival Rate and Some Exceptions to the Rule

You probably already know that, in cases of mesothelioma, the survival rate is essentially nonexistent. This is because mesothelioma is considered a terminal, or incurable, form of cancer that claims between two- and three-thousand lives in the U.S. each year. Its exceedingly long latency period and the challenges of diagnosing the illness both contribute to the generally poor mesothelioma prognosis that patients are given.

On average, the majority of mesothelioma sufferers pass away within the first year after diagnosis. According to the American Cancer Society, the mesothelioma life expectancy at the five-year marks falls to a rate of between five and ten percent.

By stage, the greatest number of survivors are those diagnosed with stage I cancer. Stage I patients have a median survival of about 21 months. For those diagnosed with stage II malignancies, that number dropped to 19 months. And for patients diagnosed with stage III and stage IV mesothelioma cancer, the figures fell to 16 and 12 months respectively.

However, there are notable cases of patients who defy the odds and far exceed the general mesothelioma life expectancy—cases which continue to amaze cancer researchers around the globe.

One such story of ‘survival’ is that of Bonnie Anderson. After more than a year of gastrointestinal problems that baffled doctors, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2002. After two surgeries and radiation therapy, she was able to return to work as a school librarian, and in 2003, even attended a four-mile race dedicated to the honor of mesothelioma victims. All of this was within just a year and a half of diagnosis!

Another remarkable story of a victim who far surpassed the typical mesothelioma life expectancy is that of Bruce Jackson, a successful career musician, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma at the age of 51. After surgery and a subsequent round of advanced chemotherapy, the cancer was untraceable. More than five years later, he continues to fulfill his life’s passion by playing music to this day.

Mother of three Kendra Ferreira is another so-called ‘survivor.’ More than 10 years after being diagnosed at age 42, she remains in good health and bears no signs of the deadly cancer that nearly took her life. She also underwent successful surgery that was paired with a round of chemo, both administered as part of clinical trial.

In one of the most exceptional stories of mesothelioma remission, Paul Krauss has lived more than 15 years with the disease, crediting holistic healing methods for his regained health. Krauss was diagnosed at age 53 and expected to live no longer than six months. He has touted positive thinking and a complete lifestyle overhaul—including the use of herbs, vitamins and other nutritional supplements—as his secret weapons to success. He is also the author of a book about his journey, entitled “Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers: A Patient’s Guide.”

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