Asbestos and Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

by admin on November 16, 2012

Asbestos is a mineral that is heat and fire resistant and was used to make insulation in homes and businesses and thought to be completely safe. In the 1970s, tests proved that asbestos was not safe for humans to breathe. The fibers of asbestos are so tiny that it was hard to see and therefore easy to inhale without ever knowing it. The inhaled fibers stayed in the lining of the lungs, abdomen lining, and heart cavity.

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma appears to be exclusively caused by breathing asbestos fibers and symptoms do not show up until after the cancer has developed, which can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years. Early of symptoms are coughing, shortness of breath, and fatigue, but since these resemble so many other conditions, it may go untreated for some time and continue to worsen. It is not uncommon for the cancer to be misdiagnosed since it not something a physician would look for initially unless there was some reason to suspect it based on patient information concerning prior years of asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma life expectancy

The type of mesothelioma the patient has at the time of diagnosis is what helps determine his or her mesothelioma life expectancy. The first type is ‘epithelial’ and this makes up about half of patients diagnosed, ‘sarcomatoid’ accounts for about 35 percent of patients, and the other 15 percent are diagnosed with a combination of both types. The best survival rate are for those diagnosed with epithelial, but this also depends on what stage the cancer is in once the diagnosis is made and the location of the cancer.

Pleural mesothelioma is found in the lining of the lungs accounts for 80 percent of mesothelioma cases and carries the best survival rate. Those with rarer locations such as the membrane of the abdomen is hard to treat and the survival rate is lower. Unfortunately, regardless of the type or location of the cancer, many people are misdiagnosed initially and once the diagnosis is finally made the cancer has metastasized to other areas of the body, further lowering life expectancy.

The average mesothelioma life expectancy is quite poor due to the diagnosis typically being made in the late stage of the disease. One-year survival rate after diagnosis of all types combined is 40 percent, and the five-year survival rate is just 10 percent.

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