Beating mesothelioma survival rates and living beyond the four to 32-month life expectancy most patients receive is an important achievement. However, most patients are given very little hope or comfort by physicians or austere mesothelioma statistics. Despite decades of research, the mesothelioma survival rate has not been noticeably ameliorated. Today, long-term survivors living more than five years after their diagnosis represent only 10 percent of all mesothelioma patients. Despite statistics that estimate a patient's prognosis compared to others with the disease, individual factors play the largest role in accurately predicting mesothelioma survival rates. Patient age, gender and general health at the time of the diagnosis play a role in mesothelioma survival rates as do pathological and biological factors involving mesothelioma tumors, the immune system and the progression of the disease.
To determine a patient's mesothelioma life expectancy, physicians evaluate the size and location of tumors, analyze the cells and determine whether fluid is accumulating in the chest or abdomen. All of these factors are useful in staging the progression of the disease. Patients diagnosed with stage-one or stage-two mesothelioma have the best chances of survival. With localized tumors, patients can often undergo surgery to remove cancerous tissue, which can prolong a patient's survival and lower the chances of a recurrence. Patients diagnosed with stage-three or stage-four mesothelioma face a harder battle with fewer treatment options as cancerous cells have often spread to neighboring areas or entered the lymph nodes, which can preclude surgery from the list of treatment options. Current one-year survival rates for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma or tumors in the abdominal cavity stand at 34 percent while those with pleural mesothelioma in the lungs have a 24-percent survival rate after one year.
Patients with stage-one mesothelioma have the best prognosis with a 50-percent survival rate after five years. Unfortunately, health statistics show that only 16 percent of patients are diagnosed at this early stage. New diagnostic technologies are essential to help identify signs of the disease earlier and help patients pursue treatment when it's most effective. Government data on mesothelioma collected between 2000 and 2004 shows that five-year survival rates are higher for women while men face lower survival rates between 10 and 13 percent. The pathological structure of a patient's tumor cells can also factor into long-term survival rates. Patients with epithelioid cells, who represent more than 50 percent of all cases, have survival rates of eight-and-a-half months and respond to treatment methods better than patients with sarcomatoid or biphasic cells, who have survival rates of seven and six months respectively. Similar data from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston shows that patients with epithelioid cells had a 74 percent mesothelioma survival rate after two-years and a 39 percent survival rate after five years while patients with sarcomatoid cells and biphasic mesothelioma have a 20 percent survival rate after two years. To help improve the mesothelioma survival rate, scientists are continuously developing new treatment methods and diagnostic tools.
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