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        What Is the Life Expectancy of a Person With Mesothelioma?

        On average, a mesothelioma patient has a life expectancy between 12 to 21 months. 

        It’s important to note these statistics are based on the average lifespan of mesothelioma patients and includes averages for patients who didn’t receive treatment from a mesothelioma specialist. So, with the right treatment and situation, a patient could dramatically increase their life expectancy. 

        There are three important factors which can impact life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient: location, cell type and stage.


        Life expectancy are best for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma (located in the abdomen), with those having surgery lasting an average of five years or more. Life expectancy for patients with pleural mesothelioma (located in the lungs) averages 3 years for those who have surgery. And life expectancy for pericardial mesothelioma (the heart), the most rare type, carries the poorest prognosis, with the median life span being 6 to 10 months.

        Cell Type

        The type of cells making up a patient’s mesothelioma determines how fast their disease will spread. Sarcomatoid cells, which are rare, typically spread the fastest. Epithelioid cells, which are most common, typically spread the slowest. Biphasic cells consist of sarcomatoid and epithelioid cells, which has a varying effect on a patient’s life expectancy.


        Doctors use staging as a way of categorizing how advanced a patient’s mesothelioma is. The less advanced the mesothelioma, the better the life expectancy. Early stage mesothelioma has an average life expectancy of around 21 months while late stage averages closer to 12 months. With surgery and the right treatment options, some patients can push their life expectancy well beyond the averages.

        Learn the numbers behind life expectancy estimates and find the best treatment options in your free Mesothelioma Care Package.

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        Life-Extending Treatment Options


        Surgery an effective way to extend life expectancy. Mesothelioma patients have surgical options for both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. Even if your doctor says you aren’t eligible for surgical treatment, it’s highly recommended to get a second opinion from a mesothelioma specialist to confirm your treatment options.

         There are two surgeries for patients with pleural mesothelioma: the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and the pleurectomy with decortication (P/D). One study reported that treatment with the EPP increased the overall survival rate of patients to about 27.5 months. The (P/D) —a less invasive procedure for patients with pleural mesothelioma — has produced results similar to the EPP, extending the survival rate of pleural mesothelioma patients to about 20 months. Both having patients who have significantly outlived their prognosis and life expectancy.

        Cytoreductive surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) is the most effective surgical option for peritoneal mesothelioma. There are reports of patients increasing their life expectancy to greater than 7 years with this treatment.

        Multimodal Therapy

        Combining two or more treatment options including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, multimodal therapy is proven to improve the life expectancy of patients with mesothelioma regardless of location.

        According to a few recent studies, pleural mesothelioma patients who had an EPP combined with chemotherapy and radiation therapy experienced a median survival rate ranging from 13 to 23.9 months. Those who had a multimodal therapy combining P/D with chemotherapy and radiation therapy resulted in an even better survival rate of 30 months with some patients significantly beating their initial prognosis.

        Cytoreduction with HIPEC is also a form of multimodal treatment. It’s a combination of surgery to remove tumors in the abdomen and heated chemotherapy applied directly to the abdominal cavity, which kills microscopic cancer cells after the procedure.

        Emerging Treatments

        Developed and tested in clinical trials by medical researchers, emerging treatments find better ways to treat patients. Stage-three or stage-four mesothelioma patients that may not qualify for traditional treatments, like the EPP or a P/D, may benefit from emerging treatments including immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy.