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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, with about 12% of patients living 5 years after diagnosis. Learn about the factors that can impact your prognosis and what you can do to improve it.

Medically reviewed by: Mark Levin, MD

Last updated:

What’s the Average Prognosis for Mesothelioma?

The average prognosis for mesothelioma patients 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 always change over time.

It’s also important to remember that every mesothelioma patient’s prognosis is different. Some have become 15+ year survivors after being told they had less than a year to live.

Your mesothelioma journey is unique, and your experience may be very different from this average.

How to Improve Your Mesothelioma Prognosis

Specialized mesothelioma treatment combined with healthy lifestyle choices is 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 increase 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

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

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

Prognosis Without Treatment

The average prognosis for mesothelioma without treatment is 4-12 months, compared to 12-21 months with treatment.

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

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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 some ways to improve your health and wellness:

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

These are some practical ways to boost your health, wellness, and prognosis, but it’s always a good idea to discuss them with your doctor. They can help tailor these strategies to your specific needs and treatment plan.

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 outlook 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.

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.

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

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 mesothelioma 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 to one area of the body.

In advanced-stage mesothelioma, tumors have spread to other areas of the body and are harder to remove.

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

Mesothelioma StageLife Expectancy*2-Year Survival Rate
Stage 121 months45%
Stage 219 months41%
Stage 316 months37%
Stage 412 months26%

Keep in mind that these numbers are an average of the histories of many other mesothelioma patients. New therapies, along with improvements in existing treatment, are helping many mesothelioma patients live longer than these averages.

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

Mesothelioma doctor talking with an older couple
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Other Factors That Affect Mesothelioma Prognosis

Besides the type and stage of mesothelioma, there are some additional variables that can impact a patient’s mesothelioma prognosis.

Some of these other factors include:

  • Age at diagnosis: Younger patients may be able to withstand more rigorous treatments like surgery that 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.

Points of Hope: Mesothelioma Survival Stories

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

A few of these mesothelioma survival stories are highlighted below. To read about other patients who beat their mesothelioma prognosis, get our Free Survivors Guide shipped overnight.

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 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 make your journey from getting a prognosis to accessing medical care easier and less overwhelming.

They can get you in to see a mesothelioma specialist as quickly as possible so you can start receiving the treatment you need to improve your prognosis.

Let us help you find the right specialist with our Free Doctor Match.

FAQs About the Prognosis for Mesothelioma

What is the prognosis for mesothelioma?

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

The average prognosis for mesothelioma is 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?

Yes, mesothelioma is generally considered a terminal illness. It’s an aggressive form of cancer that currently does not have a cure.

Still, it’s important to remember that each person’s situation is unique. Some patients respond extremely well to treatment and have lived 15 years or longer with their cancer.

Can your mesothelioma prognosis change?

Yes, your mesothelioma prognosis can absolutely change. Your overall health and how well you respond to treatment are major factors in determining whether your prognosis will improve over time.

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

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.

Your mesothelioma journey is unique, and there’s always room for hope and optimism.

Reviewed 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
Written 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.

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