Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

Quick Summary

A mesothelioma diagnosis can bring a lot of uncertainty. While the doctor explains a patient’s prognosis, they typically also discuss their life expectancy. Keep in mind, a life expectancy can change over time. This is especially true if a patient responds well to mesothelioma treatments. Some patients have lived for many years after their diagnosis with the right medical care.

Mesothelioma & Life Expectancies

When you or someone you love is diagnosed with mesothelioma, one of the biggest questions is how long they will live. There is not a simple answer to this question.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer with no cure. As a result, long-term survival rates are very low for those diagnosed. Mesothelioma is usually not diagnosed until it has spread, meaning that treatment options are limited.

Doctors will normally give an estimation (best guess) of a patient’s life expectancy when they make a prognosis. This prognosis can change over time.

Patients may live longer if:

  • The disease is caught before it spreads
  • They are younger
  • They can afford medical treatment
  • They do not have other serious health issues

One of the best ways to increase your chances of long-term survival is to seek care from a specialized mesothelioma doctor. These doctors have the experience needed to treat your mesothelioma with the leading techniques.

However, cancer treatments and medical care can be very expensive. On your own, you may not be able to afford the care that can increase your life expectancy. That is why filing a legal claim with a mesothelioma law firm can help.

A legal claim can help you receive financial compensation for your illness. In almost all cases, mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Many products were made with asbestos in the 20th century, even when manufacturers knew the health risks.

Today, these companies are being held responsible for their actions.

Sokolove Law is a mesothelioma law firm with over 40 years of experience. We have helped thousands of mesothelioma patients get compensation for their illness. To learn more about filing a claim, call (800) 647-3434 or contact us today.

What Factors Affect My Life Expectancy?

Because mesothelioma can develop in different parts of the body, it is hard to determine an average life expectancy. Doctors will look at several factors to estimate your life expectancy.

These factors include:


This is arguably the most important factor in determining your life expectancy. In the first 2 stages of mesothelioma, the cancer has not spread to distant sites on the body. This makes it easier for doctors to remove diseased tissue and cancerous masses. Patients who are treated in the early stages may live for several more years.

Once the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, treatment options are limited. A mesothelioma specialist can provide the best advice on how to treat the disease at each stage. Patients with late-stage mesothelioma typically live 6 to 18 months after their diagnosis.


As you age, your body becomes weaker and takes longer to heal. Older patients with mesothelioma have a shorter life expectancy overall. In addition, some treatments for mesothelioma are not an option for older patients.

High-intensity treatments like surgery present risks for all patients. However, patients who are below the age of 65 are more likely to benefit from them. Older patients could suffer from life-threatening complications if their bodies are too weak.

Health History

A patient’s health history before their diagnosis can either help or hurt them moving forward. If a patient has serious health issues and then develops mesothelioma, their life expectancy will be lower. Otherwise healthy patients will often respond better to treatments like surgery.

However, patients can still access high-quality treatments even if their health history is poor. These treatments can make you more comfortable and improve your quality of life.


Some types of mesothelioma are easier to treat than others. Thus, some mesothelioma patients may live longer if they are treated promptly.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is the easiest type to treat. Statistics show that over 50% of patients will live 5 years after they are first diagnosed. Pleural mesothelioma is harder to treat, with only 10% of patients surviving 5 years later.

Pericardial and testicular mesothelioma are very rare. Thus, doctors still do not know the long-term life expectancies for them. The median survival time for pericardial mesothelioma is 6 months.

Treatments and Mesothelioma

The most important way to improve your life expectancy is to seek treatment. Treatments allow for a better overall quality of life — especially those who undergo surgery.

In the early stages of mesothelioma, treatments are used to remove or shrink cancer tumors. These tumors contain the most cancer cells, so destroying them can increase the lifespan by months or years.

Did You Know?

Scientists at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City recently studied patients who received chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Patients who received 1 or 2 of these treatments had a median life expectancy of 17 months. When all 3 were used together, patients had a median life expectancy of 29.1 months.

Even patients with late-stage mesothelioma can benefit from treatments. These options can help ease the pain caused by cancer and are not as risky as surgery.

Common treatments for late-stage patients include:

  • Medications to manage pain
  • Smaller doses of chemotherapy and radiation
  • Surgery to drain fluids

Mesothelioma treatment plans do not go on forever. Once the treatments are finished, patients will recover from the side effects and hopefully remain in good health for several months or years.

As a precaution, doctors will recommend regular testing after treatment. This will allow patients to keep a close watch on their health and monitor progression of the disease.

Help for Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

According to researchers at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center, the ways to diagnose and treat mesothelioma have steadily improved over time. Along with these improvements comes an increased life expectancy for patients.

Today, some patients may live for years after their diagnosis if their cancer is caught and treated early on.

However, some patients may not be able to afford mesothelioma treatments, even with health insurance. This can seriously decrease their lifespan and quality of life.

Negligent asbestos companies may be the reason you developed mesothelioma. A legal claim allows you to seek compensation for their negligence. You never deserved or expected to get mesothelioma — and it wasn’t your fault. File a legal claim with Sokolove Law today.

To get started, call (800) 647-3434 or contact us now. You will speak with one of our case managers who can help you determine if you can earn money through a legal claim.

Author:Sokolove Law Team
Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

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

Last modified: July 19, 2019