If you have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, your mind may be flooded with questions: How did I develop this disease? What can I expect going forward? Are there others like me who, with treatment, have survived long-term?
A rare form of cancer, a mesothelioma diagnosis often comes as a surprise. That’s likely because of the disease’s long latency period: caused exclusively by exposure to asbestos, it can take anywhere from 20-50 years for mesothelioma tumors to develop and start presenting symptoms.
In many cases, by the time doctors make a mesothelioma diagnosis, the cancer has already advanced into its later stages.
Such factors combine to make long-term mesothelioma survivors’ stories especially miraculous and uplifting — and as medical research continues to advance and new treatment options become available, mesothelioma survivors’ stories are slowly becoming more and more common.
What’s perhaps most important, however, is the inspiration and hope that mesothelioma survivors’ stories provide to thousands of others who are themselves suffering from cancer or know a loved one who is.
Mesothelioma Survivors’ Stories
Recent developments in the treatment of mesothelioma, advancements like TTFields, which use electricity to zap cancerous cells, and immunotherapy, which uses the body’s own immune system as a defense network to fight cancer, are especially encouraging.
Research and clinical trials that lead to new treatments could stand to make the survival stories like the ones below even more common.
Ernie: Occupational Asbestos Exposure Mesothelioma Survivor Story
A life-long resident of St. Louis, Missouri, Ernie worked most of his life as an auto mechanic. Ernie endured 8 years of symptoms before an official diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma in 2002.
Ernie’s mesothelioma doctors took a triple-modality approach to combat the progression of his mesothelioma: chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. These treatments, combined with Ernie’s lifelong positive attitude, helped him survive mesothelioma well beyond the average life expectancy.
Unfortunately, Ernie passed away in 2009, nearly 7 years after his diagnosis. Today, he is remembered for his wonderfully positive attitude during difficult times. Ernie showed others just how important positivity is in the fight against pleural mesothelioma.
Brenda: Take-Home Asbestos Mesothelioma Survivor Story
Brenda was unexpectedly diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2004. The only known cause of this cancer is asbestos exposure, but Brenda didn’t think she had ever been exposed to asbestos.
Come to find out, she was a victim of take-home asbestos exposure when her father unknowingly brought asbestos home on his work clothes. Later in life, she was again exposed to take-home asbestos through her ex-husband, who was a mechanic.
After a period of shock and devastation over her diagnosis, Brenda decided to face her mesothelioma. She found a mesothelioma specialist who helped her aggressively fight the cancer. Following chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, Brenda stresses to other mesothelioma patients the importance of finding a qualified specialist.
Brenda lived more than 15 years with mesothelioma.
Mary Jane: Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survivor Story
In 2003, Mary Jane was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the abdomen. She struggled with a bloated abdomen and heavy sweating for a year, and it wasn’t until gallbladder surgery that doctors discovered she had mesothelioma.
Immediately, Mary Jane and her family took action to combat the disease. They contacted the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) for help finding specialists who could treat Mary Jane’s unique case. She was treated with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
After becoming medically stable, Mary Jane shared her story and advocated for mesothelioma patients across the country. Mary Jane lived 15 years after her diagnosis.
Ginger: Mesothelioma Survivor Story
When Ginger received her mesothelioma diagnosis in 2010, she was 40-years-old. The news was especially devastating, because her husband, Jarrod, was already fighting a brain tumor. Neither Ginger nor Jarrod was able to work, following their respective diagnoses.
Facing harsh financial realities, Ginger was able to file a successful mesothelioma lawsuit, securing much-needed compensation that would cover the couple’s steep medical costs.
A year after Ginger’s diagnosis, she went on a mission trip to Nicaragua, where she volunteered with local children. Now more than 10 years after her diagnosis, Ginger volunteers for the Meso Foundation and helps lead a prayer group for mesothelioma survivors, caregivers, and their families.
Julie: Take-Home Asbestos Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival Story
On August 23, 2006, Julie’s life changed forever. Doctors discovered a mass in her abdomen — what they had assumed, without biopsy, was ovarian cancer. During surgery to remove the mass, doctors discovered that the growth was not ovarian cancer, it was actually peritoneal mesothelioma. Upon the discovery, Julie was given 6-12 months to live.
Like an increasing number of women, Julie was exposed to asbestos through take-home exposure. Julie’s father worked as an electrician for 40 years. As a child, her playroom was also the family laundry room, and where her father’s asbestos-covered clothing would be washed each day.
In 2016, Julie reached a milestone: 10-year survival. Each year, she continues to inspire thousands of others who have received a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Ways to Improve Mesothelioma Survival Rates
As is the case with diseases, early detection and prompt treatment are the best ways to improve your mesothelioma prognosis. Many patients have had success by pairing traditional treatments with alternative treatment options, including optimal nutrition, body-stress reduction techniques, and palliative therapies.
In addition, factors that impact mesothelioma survival rates include cell type, location of the tumor(s), the stage the cancer is in, metastasis, and one’s overall health.
It’s important to discuss your specific treatment goals with your doctor. Some patients prefer treatments that make them comfortable enough to live their remaining time as symptom-free as possible. Other patients want to do everything they can to become mesothelioma survivors, even if that means putting up with side effects for a chance of improvement.
Get Support For You and Your Family
Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, there are many survivors' stories that prove patients may live years longer than their initially grim prognosis.
At Sokolove Law, we understand how physically, emotionally, and financially devastating it can be when you or someone you love is diagnosed with mesothelioma. While no amount of money can buy a miracle, family members may be able to file a lawsuit to help eliminate the risk of medical costs and funeral expenses wiping away the family budget.
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit can help families cover medical expenses and secure future financial well-being for years to come. The team at Sokolove Law makes the process as easy as possible for you, and each time you speak with one of our knowledgeable and experienced case managers, you’ll be treated with the dignity and respect you deserve.
Contact Sokolove Law now for a free case review.