Suggested links

Mesothelioma Prognosis

Mesothelioma prognosis is the overall health outlook for your cancer, including how long you’re expected to live. The average prognosis for mesothelioma patients is 12-21 months, but it may be possible to outlive your prognosis depending on how your cancer responds to treatment. Learn how Mesothelioma Hope can provide medical guidance to help improve your prognosis and quality of life.

Medically reviewed by: Mark Levin, MD

Last updated:

What’s the Average Prognosis for Mesothelioma?

The average prognosis for mesothelioma cancer is 12-21 months with treatment.

A mesothelioma doctor can provide a prognosis based on your cancer’s location, cell type, stage, and other factors. However, your prognosis is just an estimate, and it can improve over time.

Prognosis Without Treatment

The average prognosis for mesothelioma without treatment is 4-12 months.

It’s also important to remember that every mesothelioma patient’s prognosis and life expectancy are different. Many of the patients we’ve helped have become 15+ year survivors after being told they had months to live.

Your mesothelioma journey is unique, and it may not align with the typical prognosis.

Mesothelioma Prognosis Video Thumbnail

Mesothelioma prognosis is the projected health outlook for this cancer. The average prognosis for mesothelioma is not as favorable as other cancers, with patients living for 15 months on average. But, it's still possible to become a long-term survivor and some patients have lived for 20 years or more. View Transcript.

Duration: 1 min 03 sec

Mesothelioma prognosis refers to the predicted life expectancy and projected course of the disease. It’s an important factor in determining a patient’s treatment plan and overall outlook. The median overall life expectancy of mesothelioma patients is 15 months. However, there are mesothelioma survivors who have outlived their prognosis by more than 20 years. Your doctor will determine your prognosis based on your cancer’s location, cell type stage and other factors such as your age and overall health. It’s crucial to work closely with your doctor to understand your prognosis and available treatment options. While the overall prognosis for mesothelioma is poor, advancements in medicine and treatments are offering new hope for patients and their families. Early detection and treatment can make a significant difference in your mesothelioma prognosis. Contact Mesothelioma Hope today to get connected with top Specialists who can give you the best chance at long-term service survival.

How to Improve Your Mesothelioma Prognosis

Seeking specialized mesothelioma treatment and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle are key to improving your prognosis. Read about specific actions you can take below.

Get Treatment From a Specialist

Finding a mesothelioma specialist who can create a custom treatment plan is the best way to improve your prognosis.

Mesothelioma treatment options include:

  • Surgery to remove all visible signs of mesothelioma cancer
  • Chemotherapy to reduce tumor size or slow cancer growth
  • Immunotherapy to help the body better recognize and attack cancer cells
  • Radiation therapy to shrink tumors and reduce painful symptoms

Research shows that surgery has the biggest impact on mesothelioma prognosis since it allows cancerous tumors and tissue to be physically removed from the body before they can spread further.

“If you’re in my clinic, you’re going to see survivors who have been around for over a decade.”

- Quote from Dr. Raja Flores, pleural mesothelioma surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital

Depending on your health and other factors, your doctor may recommend a combination of treatments, which is an approach known as multimodal therapy. Multimodal treatment can improve your mesothelioma prognosis by targeting different aspects of the disease.

Use our Free Doctor Match to find top mesothelioma specialists who can treat you or a loved one.

Mesothelioma doctor talking with an older couple
Free Mesothelioma Doctor Match

We'll help you connect with a local mesothelioma specialist for personalized treatment.

Find a Doctor Near You

Join Clinical Trials

You may also be able to improve your prognosis by joining mesothelioma clinical trials to access new and emerging treatments.

Clinical trials often involve experimental treatments that have shown promise in preclinical studies or earlier phases of research. By participating in these trials, you may receive innovative therapies that could potentially extend your survival time.

Over 65 active clinical trials are recruiting mesothelioma patients in the U.S. as of April 2024.

Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help your body recover from mesothelioma treatment and improve your overall well-being. Both of these can have a positive effect on your prognosis.

Here are 4 ways to improve your health and wellness:

  1. Get proper nutrition. Following a mesothelioma diet can strengthen your immune system and help you feel better after treatment.
  2. Incorporate light exercise. Walking or doing simple chair exercises can improve blood flow, reduce fatigue, and increase your appetite.
  3. Manage stress. Anxiety and stress can negatively affect your overall health and recovery. Meditation, prayer, and yoga may help you feel more relaxed.
  4. Quit smoking. Smoking can make it harder to recover from mesothelioma treatments and increase your chances of complications and side effects.

Talk to your doctor about specific health and wellness strategies that may help you feel better and improve your mesothelioma prognosis.

“Don’t discount the importance of nutrition, positive attitude, and exercise on the immune system. These things can really impact how a patient does.”

- Quote from Dr. Andrea Wolf, pleural mesothelioma specialist

Prognosis for Each Type of Mesothelioma

The type of mesothelioma you have plays a large part in determining your prognosis. See the average prognosis for each type of mesothelioma below.

Pleural Mesothelioma Prognosis

Malignant pleural mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lung (pleura) and has an average prognosis of 12-21 months.

Your projected prognosis for pleural mesothelioma depends on the stage of the cancer when you’re diagnosed, although other factors like your age and overall health can also play a role.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis

Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum) and has an average prognosis of 53 months.

Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma are usually younger when they get diagnosed, which is one reason why this type of mesothelioma has the best prognosis.

Mesothelioma Hope can put you in touch with top specialists who treat your type of mesothelioma. Call (866) 608-8933 right now to get started.

Prognosis for Rarer Types of Mesothelioma

There are two rarer types of malignant mesothelioma that develop either in the lining of the heart or testes.

Patients with pericardial mesothelioma have an average prognosis of 2-6 months because of the cancer’s closeness to the heart.

Testicular mesothelioma is very rare, but it has an average prognosis of over 46 months if the cancer is caught before it spreads.

Malignant Mesothelioma Prognosis by Cancer Stage

Understanding the stage of your mesothelioma is an important step in determining your prognosis and finding the best treatments for your case.

Pleural mesothelioma is the only type of this cancer with an official staging system. Pleural mesothelioma patients with early-stage cancer (stages 1 and 2) have a better prognosis because their tumors are contained in one area of the body.

The chart below lists the average mesothelioma prognosis for each stage along with the percentage of patients who are still alive after 2 years (also known as the mesothelioma survival rate).

Mesothelioma StagePrognosis2-Year Survival Rate
Stage 121 months45%
Stage 219 months41%
Stage 316 months37%
Stage 412 months26%

Since the other types of mesothelioma don’t have formal staging systems, doctors use factors like tumor size and the extent of any cancer spread to predict a patient’s prognosis. Larger tumors may indicate a more advanced stage of the disease, which is usually associated with a worse prognosis than earlier stages.

Survival rates are merely an average of the histories of many other mesothelioma patients. New therapies and improvements to existing cancer treatments are helping many mesothelioma patients outlive these averages.

Find a specialist who can provide the right treatment for your stage of mesothelioma with our Free Doctor Match.

Mesothelioma doctor talking with an older couple
Free Mesothelioma Doctor Match

We'll help you connect with a local mesothelioma specialist for personalized treatment.

Find a Doctor Near You

Other Factors That Affect Mesothelioma Prognosis

Besides the type and stage of mesothelioma, some additional variables can impact your mesothelioma prognosis.

  • Age at diagnosis: Younger patients may be able to withstand more rigorous treatments like surgery, which can help improve their malignant mesothelioma prognosis.
  • Cell type: Epithelioid mesothelioma is the least aggressive of all mesothelioma cell types and responds the best to treatment. Patients with the biphasic and sarcomatoid cell types usually have a poorer prognosis.
  • Gender: Women with mesothelioma tend to live longer and respond better to treatment than men, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Despite these factors, you should remember that a mesothelioma diagnosis can’t be defined by statistics or one doctor’s prediction. Each patient’s experience is unique, and there’s always hope to be found.

“If I can help give even one person a small bit of hope, then this life of mine is worth something.”

- Quote from Alexis Kidd, 16+ year mesothelioma survivor

Points of Hope: Mesothelioma Survivor Stories

Some patients have far surpassed their doctors’ expectations and become long-term survivors.

A few of these mesothelioma survivors are highlighted below. All of them were originally given a prognosis of 6-12 months but went on to beat the odds by many years.

Peritoneal mesothelioma survivor Julie with her family

Julie, 17+ Year Survivor

  • Type of mesothelioma: Peritoneal
  • Year diagnosed: 2006
  • Original prognosis: 6-12 months
Peritoneal mesothelioma survivor Ginger with her husband

Ginger, 13+ Year Survivor

  • Type of mesothelioma: Peritoneal
  • Year diagnosed: 2010
  • Original prognosis: 6-12 months
Pleural mesothelioma survivor John with his wife

John, 4+ Year Survivor

  • Type of mesothelioma: Pleural
  • Year diagnosed: 2019
  • Original prognosis: 6-12 months
Pleural mesothelioma survivor Arthur

Arthur, 5+ Year Survivor

  • Type of mesothelioma: Pleural
  • Year diagnosed: 2018
  • Original prognosis: 6-12 months

Get our Free Mesothelioma Survivors Guide to read their inspiring stories and learn how they improved their prognosis.

Mesothelioma Survivors Guide
Get Your Free Survivors Guide

7 authentic stories of mesothelioma patients who outlived their prognosis with support from loved ones

Get It Shipped Overnight

Reaching Remission From Mesothelioma

Achieving remission is a significant milestone for mesothelioma patients since it means the signs and symptoms of the cancer have either decreased significantly (partial remission) or entirely disappeared (complete remission).

Patients who enter mesothelioma remission can continue receiving maintenance therapy to prevent their cancer from returning and help them live longer.

While achieving remission from mesothelioma can be challenging, it’s not impossible. Thanks to advancements in treatment options and medical research, more patients are experiencing periods of remission, some for extended periods.

“A lot of people can go on living for years with mesothelioma. The goal is to just continue living for as long as somebody is feeling well and doing well.”

- Quote from Dr. Andrea Wolf, pleural mesothelioma specialist

Get Help Improving Your Mesothelioma Prognosis

At Mesothelioma Hope, we understand the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re in good hands.

Our Patient Advocates are here to help you find a mesothelioma specialist as quickly as possible, allowing you to start receiving the treatment you need to improve your prognosis.

Contact us today so we can help you find the right specialist — or use our Free Doctor Match to get started.

Malignant Mesothelioma Prognosis FAQs

What is the prognosis for mesothelioma?

The prognosis (expected outlook) for mesothelioma is 12-21 months with treatment.

This is simply an average based on data from past cases. A mesothelioma doctor can determine your prognosis after considering your age, health, type and stage of mesothelioma, and other factors.

Is mesothelioma cancer terminal?

While mesothelioma is often labeled a terminal illness, some patients respond extremely well to treatment and have not just survived — but thrived — for 15 years or longer with their cancer.

Knowing that long-term survival may be possible can help you maintain hope while navigating a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Can your mesothelioma prognosis improve?

Yes, your mesothelioma prognosis can absolutely improve after your initial diagnosis. Your overall health and how well you respond to treatment are major factors in determining whether your prognosis gets better over time.

Advances in cancer research and mesothelioma treatment have helped many patients live much longer than their doctors predicted.

Supportive care and encouragement from friends and family can also give patients the physical and mental resilience to help fight this cancer and become survivors.

How long do you live after being diagnosed with mesothelioma?

Life expectancy after a mesothelioma diagnosis varies from person to person. There are mesothelioma survivors who are still enjoying time with family many years later after getting treatment.

If you’ve been diagnosed with this cancer, make sure to get a personalized treatment plan from a specialist and try to maintain a positive outlook.

Reach out to us at (866) 608-8933 to get help finding mesothelioma treatment in your area.

Dr. Mark LevinReviewed by:Mark Levin, MD

Certified Oncologist and Hematologist

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Mark Levin, MD, has over 30 years of experience in academic and community hematology and oncology. In addition to serving as Chief or Director at four different teaching institutions throughout his life, he is still a practicing clinician, has taught and designed formal education programs, and has authored numerous publications in various fields related to hematology and oncology.

Dr. Mark Levin is an independently paid medical reviewer.

  • Board Certified Oncologist
  • 30+ Years Experience
  • Published Medical Author
Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

Our Promise to You
Our Promise to You
References
  1. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Chemotherapy for MALIGNANT MESOTHELIOMA. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/treating/chemotherapy.html
  2. American Cancer Society.  (n.d.). Radiation therapy for malignant mesothelioma.Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/treating/radiation.html
  3. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Malignant mesothelioma STAGES. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/malignant-mesothelioma/detection-diagnosis-staging/staging.html
  4. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Surgery for MALIGNANT MESOTHELIOMA. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from  https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/treating/surgery.html
  5. American Society of Clinical Oncology. (2021, April 22). Mesothelioma – statistics. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/mesothelioma/statistics
  6. Brydges, H., et al. Primary Pericardial Mesothelioma: A Population-Based Propensity Score-Matched Analysis, Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Volume 34, Issue 3, 2022, Pages 1113-1119, ISSN 1043-0679, Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1053/j.semtcvs.2021.07.020
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, August 1). Malignant mesothelioma mortality – United States, 1999–2015. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6608a3.htm
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2018). Underlying cause of death 1999-2017 on CDC WONDER online database. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html
  9. Faig, J., et al. (February 2015). Changing pattern in malignant mesothelioma survival. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350634/
  10. Magge, D., et al. (April 2014). Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma: Prognostic factors and oncologic outcome analysis. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4100549/?report=reader
  11. Pass, H., Giroux, D., Kennedy, C., Ruffini, E., Cangir, A. K., Rice, D., Asamura, H., Waller, D., Edwards, J., Weder, W., Hoffmann, H., van Meerbeeck, J. P., Nowak, A., Rusch, V. W., & IASLC Staging and Prognostic Factors Committee, Advisory Boards and Participating Institutions (2016). The IASLC Mesothelioma Staging Project: Improving Staging of a Rare Disease Through International Participation. Journal of thoracic oncology : official publication of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, 11(12), 2082–2088. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtho.2016.09.123
  12. SEER*Explorer: An interactive website for SEER cancer statistics [Internet]. Surveillance Research Program, National Cancer Institute; 2023 Apr 19. [updated: 2023 Jun 8]. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://seer.cancer.gov/statistics-network/explorer/
  13. Shavelle, R., et al. (2017). Life Expectancy in Pleural and Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Lung cancer international, 2017, 2782590. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/2782590
  14. Sugarbaker, PH. Long-term Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy for Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma. J Clin Haematol. 2022;3(1):12-23. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://www.scientificarchives.com/article/long-term-intraperitoneal-chemotherapy-for-malignant-peritoneal-mesothelioma
  15. Taioli, E., Wolf, A. S., Camacho-Rivera, M., & Flores, R. M. (2014). Women with malignant pleural mesothelioma have a threefold better survival rate than men. The Annals of thoracic surgery, 98(3), 1020–1024. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2014.04.040
  16. University of Maryland Medical Center. (n.d.). Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC – FAQs. Retrieved April 11, 2024, from https://www.umms.org/umgccc/cancer-services/cancer-types/gastrointestinal/diagnostic-treatment/peritoneal-surface-malignancies/cytoreductive-surgery-hipec
Free 30-Minute ConversationWith Jenna Tozzi, RN
Fill Out Your Contact Information
How We Can Help

Mesothelioma Hope is passionate about helping patients and families affected by this aggressive cancer. A mesothelioma diagnosis can be scary and isolating, but we’re here for you at every step. Hope is only a phone call away.

(866) 608-8933
Medical Guidance
  • Get a second opinion
  • Find a doctor or cancer center
  • Access clinical trials
  • Improve your quality of life
Financial Assistance
  • Access $30 billion in trust funds
  • File a mesothelioma claim
  • Increase your VA benefits
  • Apply for travel grants
Supportive Care
  • Find a support group or peer mentor
  • Get help with daily tasks
  • Explore respite care options
  • Navigate life post-treatment