Study Reveals 6 Characteristics of Longest-Surviving Mesothelioma Patients

Mesothelioma, the rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, has rightly earned the reputation of being one of the most challenging conditions to treat: despite years of research and the introduction of innovative treatment protocols, the illness continues to be viewed as always fatal, with a median survival time of less than two years. Despite this harsh reality that confronts the majority of patients, a recent study has shown that there are some patients diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease who live significantly longer periods of time. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, has identified six specific survival factors that seem to have a substantial impact on patient longevity.

Study Based on Data From 888 Mesothelioma Patients

The study, which was published in The Lancet, collected survival data from almost 900 patients diagnosed with either malignant pleural mesothelioma or malignant peritoneal mesothelioma between 1990 and 2017. The data was drawn from the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank, a database that specifically collects all of the pertinent demographic and treatment information on patients diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease in the United States.

Six Factors Identified as Providing Longer Survival

The researchers found  six specific factors in common among those who enjoyed the longest survival times. Though the median survival for pleural mesothelioma was calculated at 14 months and 31 month for peritoneal mesothelioma patients, patients who enjoyed the longest survival times had at least one of the following six survival factors:

  • Being 45 or younger at the time of diagnosis and treatment
  • Female
  • Being diagnosed with the epithelioid mesothelioma subtype
  • Being diagnosed while their cancer was in Stage 1 (very little spread)
  • Being diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma (rather than pleural mesothelioma)
  • Having been treated with a protocol that used both surgery and chemotherapy

Though the importance of many of these factors has been known, putting them together provides essential information for mesothelioma patients and physicians alike. If you need any more information on treatment options or other resources, contact the Patient Advocates at at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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