Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mesothelioma prognosis

What is the prognosis for mesothelioma?

Like most cancers, the prognosis for this disease often depends on how early it is diagnosed 
After being diagnosed with mesothelioma a patient’s doctor or specialist will discuss their prognosis and treatment options with them. Prognosis refers to the likely outcome of the patient’s particular case. Prognosis will also include the patient’s life expectancy

which is dependent upon several factors:
Mesothelioma Life Expectancy Prognostic Factors
  •  Cancer type
  •  Location and size of tumor
  •  Cell type
  •  Cancer stage at the time of diagnosis
  •  Patient ability to receive and respond to treatment
  •  Patient’s age and overall health
  • Amount cancer has metastasized

 Factors help determine a mesothelioma prognosis

When an individual is diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other kind of cancer, one of the first questions they will have is “How long do I have to live?” This is a scary question - and a hard one to ask - but one for which most cancer patients will eventually seek an answer.
It is often very difficult for oncologists and members of a patient’s medical team to give a definitive answer to this query. Indeed, every case is different and cancer can be an unpredictable disease. Sometimes, cases that look hopeless turn out to be not so bleak. In other cases, cancers that don’t look so bad progress quickly and result in an untimely death.
Currently, a number of different issues determine the mesothelioma patient’s prognosis. These include:

  • Type
  • Location
  • Stage of the disease 
  • Metastasis 
  • General health of the patient
  • Mesothelioma Survival rate
  • Mesothelioma Survivors
  • Mesothelioma Remission
Stage at diagnosis is the single most important factor when assessing a patient’s mesothelioma prognosis

    here is a graph to understand life expectancy in mesothelioma stages in years:
    Mesothelioma Prognosis By Stage
    Image courtesy of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

    Stage 1 mesothelioma:

    When determining the extent and nature of any kind of cancer - which in turn, plays a large part in designing an appropriate cancer treatment - oncologists use a rubric or "staging" system. This is only one of the criteria by which malignancies are classified, the first of which is determined by the location of the tumor and the third of which is determined by the cellular structure (or lack thereof).
    Staging assists the oncologist in determining how far the cancer has advanced and how treatable the patient's malignancy really is.
    Although there are three distinct staging systems currently in use, all three are based on four primary stages:
    • The tumor is confined to one organ or region and is relatively small.
    • The tumor has grown in size, and has spread to one other tissue.
    • The tumor has spread to adjacent areas.
    • The tumor has spread to distant areas of the body, or "metastasized."
    In Stage 1, mesothelioma is localized and confined to one area of the body.

    Prognosis for stage 1

    Patients have the best prognosis at Stage I because the cancer is localized. If mesothelioma is diagnosed early, patients usually will respond better to standard treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Younger patients with fewer or less severe symptoms have also been shown to have longer life expectancies.
    The stage of pleural mesothelioma in particular can be an indication of life expectancy. According to one study of 131 patients, those diagnosed during Stage I had a median survival of 35 months, as compared to the 5.9-month median survival of Stage IV patients.

    Stage 2 Mesothelioma

    A diagnosis of Stage 2 mesothelioma means the cancer has begun to spread from the original tumor site. Although still mostly localized, Stage II mesothelioma has spread to the lymph nodes and may have spread to nearby areas. This progression usually creates vague and mild symptoms, which become more apparent as the cancer continues to grow. A patient diagnosed by Stage II generally has more treatment options and a better prognosis than a patient diagnosed at a later stage.

    Prognosis for stage 2

    The prognosis of Stage II patients is generally better than average for mesothelioma. Because the cancer has not become widespread, it can still be treated effectively. This can help prolong life expectancy.
    One study found a strong correlation between pleural mesothelioma stages and life expectancy. In the study of 131 patients, patients who were diagnosed at Stage II had a median survival of 16 months. Some Stage II patients lived for years after diagnosis.

    Stage 3 Mesothelioma

    Unlike the first two stages of mesothelioma, Stage 3 is considered to be an advanced stage of cancer development – and this greatly affects treatment options. Symptoms at this stage can present frequent pain and there are only a few treatments that can provide relief. Because of the limited amount of treatments available, coupled with the fact that there is no mesothelioma cure, prognosis is not typically favorable for Stage 3 patients. Learning more about the definition, symptoms, treatment options, prognosis and resources for Stage III mesothelioma helps patients comprehend their condition and make important decisions.

    Prognosis for stage 3
    Stage III mesothelioma patients typically have a short prognosis, ranging anywhere from a few months to more than a year after diagnosis. Prognosis for Stage III cases is generally poor because there are very few treatment options available that could significantly extend life expectancy. Surgery, which can sometimes improve prognosis, is not always recommended for patients with Stage III mesothelioma because of the extent of the cancer and the difficulty of removing all the tumors.It is important to remember that each mesothelioma case is different. Only a mesothelioma specialist can provide a prognosis for each patient’s individual case.

    Stage 4 Mesothelioma

    Mesothelioma is diagnosed as one of four stages, ranging between Stage I and Stage IV. Patients who are diagnosed with Stage IV mesothelioma are in the last and most advanced stage, and consequently have less effective treatment options. By the time mesothelioma is characterized as Stage IV, tumor growth and symptoms are intensified in comparison to previous stages. This stage carries the poorest prognosis, but resources are available to help patients cope and make the best treatment decisions for their case.

    A Stage IV diagnosis is determined by the extent of how far the cancer has spread from its original location. If mesothelioma tumors initiated in the pleura have affected the chest wall, diaphragm, lining of the heart, or other areas, a Stage IV diagnosis will be made. With this type of mesothelioma, doctors may avoid using potentially curative treatments such as surgery because the extent of the cancer and the risks involved.
    If you have questions about Stage IV mesothelioma or need help finding financial assistance to pay for medical bills, fill out the form below. You'll receive a complimentary packet with important information for mesothelioma patients and their families.

    Prognosis for stage 4
    Patients with Stage IV mesothelioma generally have a poor prognosis because the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, making treatment options limited and less effective. Described as “distant metastasis” in staging systems, mesothelioma will typically spread throughout the abdomen, into lymph nodes, and sometimes into the heart sac or other organs. Patients with Stage IV mesothelioma have an average life expectancy of six and a half months after a diagnosis is made.

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