Is mesothelioma a fast growing cancer?

Mesothelioma has a long latency period, meaning multiple decades can pass between a person being exposed to carcinogen (asbestos) and cancerous tumors beginning to grow. But once they begin, they grow rapidly and the course of the disease can progress rapidly. This fast growth rate is a factor in mesothelioma being one of the deadliest cancers in existence.

With an official five-year survival rate of 9 percent, mesothelioma is grouped among other cancers with a high likelihood of being terminal, including pancreatic and heart cancer. Victims of lung cancer are twice as likely as mesothelioma victim to be alive 5 years after diagnosis. At the end of the scale are prostate, skin and breast cancer, all of which have survival rates of near or over 90%. Prostate and breast cancer are both very slow growing. These figures show the variation that exists among cancers.

Is mesothelioma a fast growing cancer?

Being fast-moving is a key factor in these cancers being difficult to treat. In particular, mesothelioma is typically growing fast by the time it’s detected. One source points out that “even with cancers that often seem to be fast growing and aggressive, such as pancreatic cancer, …. this could just be down to the point at which they’re detected. ‘We think that pancreatic cancers are often detected quite late, so they’ve been growing and evolving for a while. There might be a long and fairly slow development phase, but the first part is just invisible to us.’”

Even within one cancer type, tumors don’t always grow at the same speed. A cancer being fast growing doesn’t always mean a poor prognosis. But in the case of mesothelioma, quick detection and aggressive treatment are a must to ensure a chance of survival.

Is mesothelioma a fast growing cancer?

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