Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis

Asbestos was a commonly used mineral in construction and industry for most of the 20th century, and exposure to asbestos is known to be the main cause of mesothelioma, a malignant cancer that typically manifests itself in the lungs. It commonly occurs in the abdomen or the cardiac cavity. The prognosis of mesothelioma is determined by several factors, including the types and stage of mesothelioma, how early the mesothelioma is detected and whether the patient has other risk factors. For those at high risk of mesothelioma because of previous exposure to asbestos materials at any time in their life, regular screening are the best prevention.

Types of Mesothelioma

There are several types of mesothelioma that are named according to where they are located in the body. Pleural mesothelioma occurs in the lungs, and is the most common type of the cancer due to the inhalation of asbestos. The next most common is peritoneal mesothelioma which occurs in the abdominal area. Pericardial and testicular mesothelioma occur in the heart and testicles respectively. Statistically, about 10% of pleural mesothelioma patients will survive for five years after diagnosis, with lower rates for other types of mesothelioma diagnoses. The prognosis is also determined by the type of mesothelioma cancer cell, where mesothelioma affecting epithelial cells has a better prognosis than mesothelioma affecting sarcomatoid or biphasic cells.

Early Detection

Early detection of mesothelioma is critical to having a more positive prognosis. If detected early, the size of the tumor will be smaller and may respond better to surgery and chemotherapy. Additionally, if the cancerous cells have not yet spread to other parts of the body, the patient will usually respond much better to treatment.

Cancer like mesothelioma is characterized by stages depending on how much the tumor has grown and the other parts of the body is negatively affecting. The severity of the case ranges from stage 1 to stage 4, and those with stage 1 or stage 2 diagnoses have a much better prognosis because the tumor is contained and affects other organs minimally.

Other Factors

Another important variable affecting the prognosis is the health of the patient. For example, cigarette smokers may have other risk factors that can complicate mesothelioma treatment. Likewise, an otherwise healthy person is more likely to recover more quickly from surgery or intensive chemotherapy treatments.

Mesothelioma is has a very long latency period, sometimes upwards of 40 years. In other words, the asbestos exposure that causes mesothelioma can take decades to actually show the symptoms of a tumor. In fact, the shortest time period reported between exposure and diagnosis is 15 years.

Therefore, it is extremely important for those that have risk factors of being exposed to asbestos, which includes many types of industrial and construction work up until 1989, to be regularly screened by a physician for mesothelioma. Early diagnosis is the best method to receive a positive prognosis, and those with high risk factors should not wait until symptoms develop to be screened for mesothelioma.