Mesothelioma and it survival rate in USA

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that primarily develops from thin layer of tissue covering many internal organs called mesothelium. Most common areas affected are linings of the lungs and abdomen. Most common reason being asbestos exposure. It has very poor prognosis and very few treatment options are currently available to combat Mesothelioma.

Survival rate of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma survival rate denotes the percentage of Mesothelioma patients who live for a year or more after diagnosis. Many studies have been conducted to study the survival rates of Mesothelioma. According to them, about 50-55% of patients survive 6 months, 30-40 % live more than a year and only about 8-10% patients survive five years or more

Mesothelioma survival rates

6 months after diagnosis 55%

1 year after diagnosis 33%

5 years after diagnosis 9%

Survival rates for Mesothelioma depends on many factors. Few of them which have been identified by numerous studies done across USA are as follows: 

1. Age

2. Gender

3. Race

4. Area of stay/ work

5. Cancer sub type – Pleural, Peritoneal, Pericardial

6. Stage of cancer at time of diagnosis

7. Type of treatment – Chemotherapy, surgery, etc

8. Genetics

A recent study has been conducted in USA in 2015 which took into consideration patient data of about 20 years from 1992-2012. A thorough analysis of various types of Mesothelioma was done, findings of which are as follows: 

We have detailed out the impact of all the above factors on Mesothelioma survival rate:

1. Age 

Survival rates for mesothelioma decrease with higher age of diagnosis. In other words younger patients have higher survival rates than older patients. To put this into statistics, about 50% of patients diagnosed before 50 years survive 1 year but only 33% patients diagnosed after 75 years of age live the same amount of time.

Mesothelioma Survival Rates by Age

To dig this further and analyze it, the most important reason behind this age variance is that younger patients are more eligible for intensive treatments as compared to older patients. Older patients may not be able to take intensive treatments like surgery because of poor health conditions, high risk of complications, associated chronic disorders like diabetes, hypertension. The average age at diagnosis is 60, and from 1999 to 2010, nearly 80 percent of Americans who died from mesothelioma were older than 65.

2. Gender

As per National Cancer Institute data, women have a higher survival rate (16%) than men (9.3%). The main reason behind this has been linked to asbestos exposure. As most of the asbestos exposure occurs in industries and such jobs are often held by men, men account for around 80% of all the mesothelioma cases in USA and also around the world.

Mesothelioma Survival Rates by Gender

Few studies have also linked hormonal differences for gender variation in Mesothelioma cases

3. Race 

Almost 95% of the Mesothelioma cases are found in whites. This difference has also been attributed to the fact that Black individuals and Hispanics are less likely to be diagnosed with any type of cancer. 5 year survival rates for whites is 7.6 % and 12.6% for blacks as per the SEER data 

Mesothelioma Survival Rates by Race

4. Area of stay/ work

Mesothelioma cases have always been liked with industrial areas due to exposure to asbestos. This is clearly visible by the state wise distribution of cases.

Mesothelioma Death Rates by State, 1999-2010

The top five states by age-adjusted death rates include:

Maine — 14.6 deaths per million

Alaska — 13.6 deaths per million

Washington — 13.1 deaths per million

Wyoming — 12.0 deaths per million

New Jersey — 11.5 deaths per million

5. Cancer sub type – Pleural, Peritoneal, Pericardial

Following table shows the survival rate by type of Mesothelial cancer. It has been found from numerous studies that Pericardial Mesothelioma has the least 1 year survival rate followed by Pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma respectively

Mesothelioma Survival Rate by Type

Pleural Peritoneal Pericardia

1 year 73% 92% 51%

3 years 23% 74% 26%

5 years 12% 65% 23%

10 years 4.7% 39% (N/A)

6. Stage of cancer at time of diagnosis

Stage of cancer at time of diagnosis is one of the most important factor affecting survival rates. Cancer detected at early stage has higher survival rate as compared to those detected in late stages. But normally Mesothelioma is not diagnosed until it reaches stage III or IV and so as these patients are detected with large and extensive tumors they have worst survival rates.

Mesothelioma Survival Rate by Stage at time of diagnosis

7. Type of treatment – Chemotherapy, surgery,etc

Chemotherapy only has been associated with 2 year survival rate of 19% and 5 year survival rate of 4%. In contrast, Pleurectomy / Decortication has higher 2 year survival rate of 40% and 5 year survival rate of 10%. While Extra pleural Pneumonectomy has been associated with somewhat lesser survival rates as compared to Pleurectomy. 

8. Genetics

Certain genetic factors have been associated with higher survival rates as compared to other. For e.g. certain mutations of BRCA1-associated protein-1 (BAP1) appear to have much better survival rates than other individuals who develop the disease

To sum up the topic, the survival rate of Mesothelioma has been related to a number of factors. Generally, young white patients diagnosed at early stage with lesser exposure to asbestos have a higher rate of survival.