Mesothelioma Survivors’ Stories: 7 Testimonies of Long-Term Survival & Hope

Mesothelioma survivors

Getting diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos, can come as a surprise to many.

Because symptoms can take 20-50 years to develop, this disease is often not identified until it has progressed to later stages — leaving many patients feeling overwhelmed about what comes next.

How did this happen? What can I expect? Are there others who have survived? These are just a few of the questions you and your family may be thinking about during this difficult time.

Contact Sokolove Law if you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma. We may be able to help you afford life-changing treatment.

Thankfully, these questions don’t have to go unanswered. Mesothelioma survivors’ stories can provide insight and hope for all those affected by this cancer.

7 Mesothelioma Survivor Stories

Mesothelioma survivors’ stories can inspire thousands of others who are suffering from this cancer and grappling with uncertainty about the future.

Stories from fellow asbestos exposure victims can help patients:

  • Find an understanding and supportive community
  • Get motivated to seek compensation for mesothelioma
  • Identify treatment options and alternative therapies to ease their symptoms

Find out more about the lives of these 7 brave mesothelioma survivors and their journeys with this disease.

1. Brenda: Facing Peritoneal Mesothelioma for 15 Years

In 2004, Brenda, a resident of Missouri, was unexpectedly diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. She didn’t know that asbestos snuck into her family home on her father’s work clothing when she was a child.

Later in her life, Brenda was exposed to asbestos again when her ex-husband unknowingly brought the microscopic fibers home from his job as a mechanic.

Despite the shock and devastation of her diagnosis, Brenda decided to face mesothelioma head-on. She researched top specialists to help her treat the cancer, and she strived to remain positive in the midst of a troubling prognosis.

"My positivity comes from family, praying an awful lot, and keeping myself busy with life. I keep all the positive things — digging in my garden, planting flowers, friendship, camaraderie — I live for at the front of my mind."
– Brenda, 15-Year Mesothelioma Survivor

Brenda survived peritoneal mesothelioma for 15 years thanks to treatments like chemotherapy and surgery.

“I don’t think about the disease unless someone asks me about it. I think that’s the way you survive — you forget about it,” Brenda explained. “You live through it, you survive it, and you forget about it.”

2. Joe: Overcoming Mesothelioma for His Grandkids

In the 1960s and ‘70s, Joe worked as a gas station and school bus mechanic. While he serviced brakes and clutches, dust would fill the air and settle across the shop. He didn’t know it contained asbestos.

By the time he was in his 60s, Joe began to experience trouble breathing, a persistent cough, and heart attacks. During heart surgery, doctors noticed an issue with his lung lining, which led to an epithelioid pleural mesothelioma diagnosis.

Soon after, it became difficult for Joe to do the things he loved, like camping, fishing, and spending time with his grandkids.

“I want to help my grandchildren more. They’re just starting out in life and they need help, but I just got to where I couldn’t do the things I wanted anymore.”
– Joe, 4+ Year Pleural Mesothelioma Survivor

Joe became determined to fight back against this illness and began undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In order to afford his treatments, he filed a mesothelioma lawsuit against the company that made the asbestos-containing brakes he worked on.

After a rare battle in court, our mesothelioma attorneys helped win over $8.26 Million for his family.

3. Ernie: One Veteran’s Mesothelioma Story

At only 17 years old, Ernie joined the automotive industry as a mechanic, a high-risk occupation for asbestos exposure. After only a few years as an apprentice, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Korea.

Veterans make up 33% of all mesothelioma diagnoses due to the high amounts of asbestos used across every branch of the military.

When he retired from the military, Ernie returned home and continued work as a mechanic until the late 1990s, when he began experiencing shortness of breath and shoulder pain.

In 2002, Ernie was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, the most common type of mesothelioma — almost a decade after his painful symptoms began. His doctors began a triple-modality approach: chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Combined with his lifelong positive attitude, these treatments helped Ernie survive mesothelioma for over 7 years following his diagnosis.

4. Ginger: Battling Cancer Alongside Her Husband

When Ginger received her mesothelioma diagnosis in 2010, she was only 40 years old. The news was especially devastating because her husband Jarrod was fighting a brain tumor at the time.

Both Ginger and Jarrod were unable to work due to their health, which left them financially worried about how to cover living expenses and costly cancer treatment.

Ginger decided to file a successful mesothelioma claim and secured much-needed compensation for the couple’s steep medical costs.

“Once the financial weight is off your brain, it’s easier to worry about the things that matter, like my treatments, getting better, and my quality of life.”
– Ginger, 14+ Year Mesothelioma Survivor 

More than 10 years after her diagnosis, Ginger volunteered at the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and helped lead a prayer group for patients, caregivers, and their families.

Find out if you may be eligible for mesothelioma settlements that can help pay for treatments and other expenses during a free, no-obligation case review.

5. John: Stage 4 Pleural Mesothelioma Survivor

For over four decades, John was a dedicated construction worker in Nevada. One morning in 2019, he woke up feeling unwell. His wife convinced him to go to a nearby clinic, where doctors discovered over 2 liters of fluid in his lungs.

Shortly after, John was diagnosed with stage 4 pleural mesothelioma. His mesothelioma specialists worked quickly to set him up with several rounds of chemotherapy.

“At first, it didn’t really sink in. The longer and longer I thought about it, I realized that it’s going to end my life eventually, but I’m going to live it as well as I can.”
– John, 5+ Year Mesothelioma Survivor

Since beginning treatment, John has been feeling much better. He’s back out on the golf course multiple times a week, spending as much time as possible with his friends and beloved family.

6. Julie: Surviving Secondhand Asbestos Exposure

Growing up, Julie’s father worked as an electrician. He often came home covered in dust from different worksites, unaware that microscopic asbestos fibers clung to his hair and clothes. In 2005, he sadly lost his life to asbestos-related lung cancer.

Asbestos changed Julie's life again in 2006, when doctors found a mass in her abdomen they believed to be ovarian cancer. During surgery, however, they discovered it was peritoneal mesothelioma. She was given 6-12 months to live.

With a young daughter at home, Julie was determined to seek treatments that would allow her child to grow up and remember her mother.

“I look back on doing that one-day-at-a-time thing, and all of a sudden, I realize I’ve accumulated a lot of days with my daughter. Soccer games, 8th-grade graduation, high school graduation, Christmases, and the start of college.”
– Julie, 18+ Year Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survivor

After undergoing several surgeries and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), doctors now consider her disease stable.

As a peritoneal mesothelioma survivor, Julie continues to advocate for victims of asbestos and encourage those diagnosed to seek legal help, so they can afford the same life-extending treatment she could.

7. Mary Jane: 15-Year Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survivor

Before her diagnosis, Mary Jane struggled with serious abdominal bloating for over a year, which caused her to lose an alarming 20 pounds. After a gallbladder surgery in 2003, doctors discovered she had peritoneal mesothelioma.

Immediately, Mary Jane and her family began searching for the best specialists who could treat her rare cancer. She underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, making dozens of trips from Ohio all the way to New York for treatment.

The mesothelioma financial compensation she received from a lawsuit helped her pay for travel expenses.

“It changes your life. When you have a disease that there is no cure for, it’s this dark cloud that hangs over your head. But I made it. I did it.”
– Mary Jane, 15-Year Mesothelioma Survivor

After becoming medically stable, Mary Jane shared her story and advocated for mesothelioma patients across the country. She lived 15 years after her diagnosis before passing away from Alzheimer's disease.

Ready to see if you qualify for compensation? Call (800) 647-3434 now to see if Sokolove Law can help your family.

Ways to Improve Chances of Mesothelioma Survival

As these mesothelioma survivors’ stories have shown, long-term survival is possible. Early detection and prompt treatment are the best ways to improve your mesothelioma life expectancy.

Factors that impact how mesothelioma progresses include:

  • Cell type
  • Location of the tumor(s)
  • Patient’s age and overall health
  • Stage of the cancer at diagnosis
  • Type of mesothelioma
  • Whether or not the cancer has spread

Many patients have had success pairing traditional treatments with alternative treatment options, like nutritional changes, body-stress reduction techniques, and palliative therapies.

It’s important to discuss all mesothelioma treatment options with your doctor and medical team.

Some people may prefer treatments that ease symptoms, so they can live their remaining time as comfortably as possible. Other patients may want to do everything they can to extend their life expectancy, even if that means putting up with side effects.

No matter how you approach your treatment for mesothelioma, remember that there are resources available at every step to help you.

Sokolove Law Supports Mesothelioma Survivors & Their Families

Although there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, these mesothelioma survivors' stories prove that patients can live for years past their initial prognosis.

As a national mesothelioma law firm, Sokolove Law can help families in all 50 states seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more.

We’ve recovered more than $5 Billion for mesothelioma patients and their loved ones.

If you have a case, our team may be able to:

Our mesothelioma attorneys are committed to fighting for your family. We don’t charge any hourly fees or out-of-pocket costs, so there’s no financial risk to taking legal action.

Call (800) 647-3434 now or fill out our contact form to see how we may be able to support your family during this difficult time.

Author:
Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: June 10, 2024

  1. American Cancer Society. “Malignant Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from cancer.org/cancer/types/malignant-mesothelioma.html. Accessed on May 29, 2024.
  2. Mayo Clinic. “Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mesothelioma/symptoms-causes/syc-20375022. Accessed on May 29, 2024.
  3. Penn Medicine. “Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from https://www.pennmedicine.org/cancer/types-of-cancer/mesothelioma/prognosis. Accessed on May 29, 2024.
  4. Simmons Hanly Conroy. “We Stand for our Clients.” Retrieved from https://www.simmonsfirm.com/mesothelioma/lawyer/clients/. Accessed on May 29, 2024.