Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer which is closely linked to asbestos exposure. Though this form of cancer has yet to have a known cure, detecting it at the earliest stages of the disease can drastically improve the patient's chances of long-term survival. It not only has an impact on the survival prospects of the patient but also makes him/her more positively responsive to surgery, medication and treatment. The prognosis is more likely to achieve its objectives in the beginning stages of mesothelioma since the cancer has not yet spread to other body parts. Unfortunately, mesothelioma prognosis generally produces unfavorable results owing to the fact that it is a long latency period malignant cancer that stays inactive for up to five decades after the exposure to asbestos. Therefore diagnosis mostly occurs only in the advanced stages of the disease. There are multiple factors that can affect the mesothelioma prognosis in a person.
The prognosis is directly affected by the type of mesothelioma the patient is suffering from. For instance, pleural mesothelioma patients have the most positive prognosis results, with about 10% of them surviving for five years after the diagnosis.
The overall health of the patient can largely determine the extent to which he/she will successfully respond to treatment. People who are otherwise of sound health take better to intensive treatment methods such as chemotherapy compared to patients who have multiple health issues. Non-smokers also have a better chance of positive prognosis than smokers. Doctors have devised a special grading method for determining the patient's health and each patient is awarded a "performance status" score during the diagnosis. The ideal score is 0 and the higher this figure goes the more deteriorated is the patient's health.
Mesothelioma stages are typically marked on the basis of severity from Stage 1 to Stage 4. Going by this scale of ranking, the prognosis produces more favorable results if it occurs during Stages 1 and 2. Stages 3 and 4 have known to have a poor prognosis since the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body by then.
Patients experiencing some of the most serious and conspicuous symptoms of mesothelioma like difficulty breathing or acute chest pain are likely to have a weak prognosis, owing to the fact that these symptoms are often indicative of the cancer being in its later stages.
The size of a tumor can greatly impact the mesothelioma prognosis. Patients with small tumors (located in a single area) that can be removed surgically have a better prognosis than patients with tumors which have progressed to other body parts.
There are several other secondary factors that can determine mesothelioma prognosis including the person's age (patients aged below 55 are have better chances of a positive prognosis than patients above 55), person's gender (females have higher chances of a favorable prognosis than males), patient's morale and the chosen treatment type.