One of the most stressful aspects of living with mesothelioma is the fact that the condition carries such a grim prognosis: whether you have been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, or the even rarer forms that impact the heart or testicles, most physicians will indicate that the survival rate for the disease is little more than on year.
According to a recent report by the University of Maryland Medical Center, improvements in interventions and treatments have provided an overall median survival rate of almost 3 years. Though this is still a critical diagnosis, it also represents a dramatic improvement for those who have been diagnosed with this disease.
The report followed 73 pleural mesothelioma patients who were treated using a variety of protocols. All of them had surgery to debulk and remove the cancerous tumors, and each was then treated with photodynamic therapy, an innovative treatment approach that uses light and a light-sensitized drug to provide more extensive treatment of cancer cells that remain.
Following these two protocols, 92% of patients also received chemotherapy.
This multimodality approach yielded remarkable results. As compared to patients who only had chemotherapy and only lived for 12 to 18 months following treatment, those who received all three treatments lived an average of 35 months. Those whose mesothelioma had not yet spread to their lymph nodes lived nearly twice that long.
In addition to this information, other updates in survival and treatment options are revealing growing understanding of the condition. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Cardiothoracic, a recent study found that patient survival could reliably be predicted based upon the mesothelioma tumor volume.
A study published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery revealed a remarkable difference in survival rates between women and men with mesothelioma, with male patients having a 4.5% survival rate compares to 13.4% in women.
Overall, mesothelioma physicians and advocates are encouraged by the improvements that are being made in patient survival through expanded treatment options, but also feel that the science has a long way to go. For those who are living with mesothelioma on a daily basis, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can provide you with updates on available treatments as well as other resources that may help you in your journey.
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