Mesothelioma is rare cancer that is diagnosed in only about 3,000 people per year. But mesothelioma is aggressive cancer caused by asbestos exposure, and the prognosis is generally poor. Peritoneal mesothelioma is one of the less common forms of the disease. (NIH.gov)
If you were diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, you might wonder what your life expectancy is.
How long you will live depends on many factors that will be discussed in this article. While the outlook for peritoneal mesothelioma is often grim, it is crucial to note that treatments and detection are improving every year. So it is possible to live longer with this disease than it was 10 or 20 years ago.
Please keep reading for information about peritoneal mesothelioma life expectancy.
What Is Peritoneal Mesothelioma?
Peritoneal mesothelioma is cancer that affects the walls and organs of the abdomen and pelvis. The cancer lies in the peritoneum, a membrane that surrounds the abdominal organs. Less than 10% of all mesotheliomas occur in the abdomen. (Cancercouncil.com.au).
There are two membranes in the peritoneum that may be affected by peritoneal cancer. The inner membrane is called the visceral peritoneum, which lines the surface of the bowel, liver, and ovaries. The outer layer is called the parietal peritoneum. It lines the walls of the pelvis and abdomen.
Between these two layers is the peritoneal cavity, which has a thin film of fluid. The fluid allows the lawyers to slide over one another as you move. In people suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma, extra fluid from tumors can collect between the films. This leads to bloating and swelling, which is quite painful.
It can take 40 or 50 years after asbestos exposure to develop peritoneal mesothelioma. But most patients do not receive a diagnosis until they are in the later stages, which significantly reduces life expectancy.
Because detecting cancer early is so important to extending life expectancy, you should be looking for symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma if you were exposed to asbestos during your career.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include: (Mayoclinic.org)
- Loss of appetite
- Bowel obstruction
- Abdominal swelling
- Acute to severe abdomina.l pain
- Difficulty breathing
How to Determine Peritoneal Mesothelioma Life Expectancy
There are several vital factors that determine life expectancy with peritoneal mesothelioma. (Pennmedicine.org)
- Type: Mesothelioma involves different cells: epithelial, sarcomatoid, and biphasic. The most common type of mesothelioma involves epithelial cells. This cell type of mesothelioma has the best life expectancy.
- Location: Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the abdomen and comprises only 10% of all asbestos cancers. Unfortunately, this form of mesothelioma tends to have a shorter life expectancy than the pleural form of the disease.
- Disease stage: The best chance to increase your life expectancy with peritoneal mesothelioma is to catch cancer early. But common symptoms of cancer can lead to misdiagnosis. By the time peritoneal mesothelioma is in the later stages, you may have only a few months to live.
- Metastasis: After you are diagnosed, it is important to see if cancer has spread. If so, this will lower your life expectancy.
- Patient health: If you are younger and otherwise in good health, you will tolerate treatment better and will live longer.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival Rates
According to Cancer.net, the two-year survival rate for people with any form of mesothelioma that is found during a localized state is 41% to 46%. If cancer has spread to other areas, including lymph nodes, the two-year survival rate is 26% to 38%. If cancer has spread to more distant regions of the body, the two-year survival rate is 17%. (Cancer.net).
The overall five-year survival rate for people with mesothelioma is just 10% because it usually is diagnosed at a later stage. If the cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate for people with mesothelioma is between 13% and 16%. If cancer has spread to lymph nodes and the local area, the five-year survival rate is 5% to 10%. If cancer has gone to distant parts of the body, the five-year survival rate is less than 1%.
However, it should be noted that life expectancy for people with peritoneal mesothelioma is usually higher than for those with pleural or pericardial mesothelioma. The longer survival is largely because it is easier to treat cancer in the abdomen than in the sensitive lung and heart tissue.
Current survival rates for peritoneal mesothelioma patients are:
- 1 year: 92%
- 3 years: 75%
- 5 years: 65%
- 10 years: 39%
As with all forms of mesothelioma, you will live longer if the cancer is diagnosed early.
Increased Life Expectancy Hopes for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Patients
Research recently conducted on Finnish peritoneal mesothelioma patients revealed that combining surgery with chemotherapy can significantly improve life expectancy. Researchers from the University of Helskink reported what they termed ‘remarkable results’ from using a combination of chemical and surgical treatments. (NIH.gov)
Their research found that the median survival rate for patients who received both surgery and chemotherapy to be 62 months after treatment and a 66% five-year survival rate.
Through the use of surgery and Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), survival rates for peritoneal mesothelioma patients are improving. This type of chemotherapy puts warm chemotherapy drugs into the thoracic cavity after a surgeon has removed all visible signs of cancer. The chemotherapy bath on the abdominal cavity kills any remaining cancer cells that cannot be removed with surgery.
The sooner peritoneal mesothelioma is detected, the longer your life expectancy. If you were exposed to asbestos in your work, tell your doctor about it right away. He can be on guard for signs of the disease during your routine checkups.
If you have been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If your attorney can prove that a company or companies exposed you to asbestos during your career, you might be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and loss of consortium. Talk to an experienced peritoneal mesothelioma attorney for more information.