When one is suspects symptoms of mesothelioma, visit the doctor as soon as possible. If one is detected with mesothelioma, the doctor will provide prognosis, which basically refers to the likely outcome of the patient's case. A mesothelioma patient's prognosis also includes details of its life expectancy. The doctor also discusses the possible treatments based on various factors associated with the disease and patient.
Factors affecting the prognosis
As with all cancers, there are various factors which determine the prognosis of mesothelioma patient. Some most important are:
Stage of diagnosis : Severity of mesothelioma is categorized in stages. Stage 1 is initial while, Stage 4 is final. Patients which are diagnosed with mesothelioma at early stages have better prognosis. Early diagnosis is one very important factor which determine the prognosis. One very big issue with mesothelioma is its high latency period. The cancer can take 15-50 years to show serious symptoms. Before that mesothelioma symptoms are very common ones – fever, weight loss, cough etc. which most people do not take seriously, and even if they do, they never explore as aspect of being affected by mesothelioma. By the time most patients realize they have mesothelioma, they are in stage 2 or stage 3, which is too late. Based on stats, if mesothelioma is detected in stage 1, the patients on a average can live for almost an year. This number drastically reduces to just over 100 days when diagnosis is done in stage 2 or 3.
Overall health : How healthy a person is also impacts the prognosis. A healthy person can fight the cancer better and respond to treatments such as chemotherapy better than the one with existing health issues. Further, it is noticed that smokers have poor prognosis as compared to non-smokers.
Age : Age also plays a part here. Younger patients with better overall health have better prognosis as compared to older ones. In a study conducted on mesothelioma patients, 37% ones with age less than 45 lived for more than 5 years. This number reduced to almost half to 20% for 45-55 years age group.
Sex : Females are found to have better prognosis than males.
Type of mesothelioma : It is known that certain types of mesothelioma have better prognosis than others. Based on statistics, pleural mesothelioma (which is also the most widespread type of mesothelioma ) patients have better prognosis than others.
Location and size of tumor : As with normal cancer cases, if the tumor has spread to other locations of the body, it is tough to control leading to poor prognosis. Similarly a large size tumor has poor prognosis as compared to small and localized one.
Cell type : Epithelial mesothelioma is known to have greater life expectancy than those with sarcomatoid or biphasic mesothelioma.
Metastasized : If the tumor has progressed to other parts of the body than the prognosis is poor. Unfortunately, this is very common in mesothelioma primarily due to long latency period and common looking initial symptoms.
There are also a few ways to improve the prognosis if mesothelioma is detected in early stages. One can opt for treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy for the same.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for mesothelioma till now but with early diagnosis, precautions, health lifestyle and treatment one can increase the lifespan of a patient. Thus, if you were exposed to asbestos in past and are experiencing any of the initial mesothelioma symptoms, consult mesothelioma specialist doctor immediately.