How long may I expect to live with mesothelioma?

The startling news began with unexpected symptoms that included, chest pain, coughing, and shortness of breath. The news worsened upon your diagnosis of mesothelioma.

You are one of the 3,000 Americans diagnosed each year with this almost always fatal form of cancer. Even worse news, nearly just as many people die annually from the disease. This makes you wonder: “How much longer will I live?” The data shows that more than half of the patients die within the first year and only 7% live at least five years.

Study of nearly 11,500 mesothelioma cases

With a serious diagnosis such as mesothelioma, you understand that you have to get your affairs in order. Years of data confirm the high mortality rate of victims of this disease typically caused by exposure to asbestos and inhaling its dust-like fibers.

For example, consider the 2017 report entitled “Life Expectancy Pleural and Peritoneal Mesothelioma” from the research and education organization Life Expectancy Project.

The group analyzed data from 11,487 mesothelioma cases between 1973 and 2011. The vast majority – 10,258 or 89% — consisted of pleural mesothelioma, while 1,229 or 11% of the cases were peritoneal mesothelioma cases. (Pleural mesothelioma forms in the lining that covers the lungs, while peritoneal mesothelioma surfaces in the tissue that lines the inside of the abdomen.)

More than half die within the first year

The data confirmed early mortality rates for men — aged 50 to 79 – who suffer from pleural mesothelioma – most often found in white men. Of the cases involving pleural mesothelioma, the report noted that:

  • More than half – 54% — of the patients who suffered pleural mesothelioma died within the first year of their diagnosis.
  • Of the 46% of patients who survived that first year, only 48% survived through the second year. (That means only 22% of the beginning group lived through the second year.)
  • Of the patients who survived the disease after two years, only 32% lived through five years. (That means only 7% of the initial group lived at least five years.)

Early diagnosis of the disease benefits a person who is otherwise in good health compared with a person who receives a diagnosis during the later stages of mesothelioma.

Take legal action

Granted, this represents an unfair situation. Many people diagnosed with mesothelioma likely were exposed to asbestos while on the job. With limited time, you should consider taking legal action against your employer to secure the compensation that will help your family.