How long does it take for mesothelioma to kill you?

Across the world, it’s not known how many people have survived mesothelioma. But it is possible, although rare, to go into partial or complete remission from this aggressive cancer and live something approaching a normal lifespan.

Part of the problem with knowing how common survival is, is that mesothelioma is rare. Just 3000 cases are diagnosed in the us each year. And the 5-year survival rate for pleural mesothelioma diagnosed at stage 3 (the most common scenario) is just 5 to 8 percent. Patients who survive beyond that are a relatively small number, and statistics on the haven’t been collected.

How long does it take for mesothelioma to kill you?

What constitutes survival or being cured is also a slippery concept. Surviving beyond 2 years is a major milestone in mesothelioma, since just a quarter or a third of people diagnosed survive that long. Five years is another major milestone; if a cancer patient survives that long without any sign of cancer in their body, it’s less likely for the cancer to recur.

Among those diagnosed with mesothelioma, many people have survived years longer than their prognosis stated—to 10, 15 or even 20 years. That does not necessarily mean all these patients went into full remission. Some may have survived with some remnants of the cancer remaining, being held in check through chemo, radiation or other treatment. In this case the survivor must treat the cancer like a chronic disease. And even in cases of full remission, that patient must monitor their health carefully and be checked often for signs it has returned.

How long does it take for mesothelioma to kill you?

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