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The mesothelioma survival rate is rising as researchers learn more about the condition. At present, more mesothelioma patients live for at least one year after diagnosis than ever before. Some have even achieved five-year and ten-year survival, an impressive feat for a cancer that was once thought to be all but untreatable. 

What factors influence mesothelioma survival rates?

As of 2022, the overall five-year survival rate for advanced stage mesothelioma at Moffitt Cancer Center is 17.3%. Most cases are diagnosed when the cancer is in an advanced stage and is more difficult to treat. When a patient is diagnosed with early-stage mesothelioma, the prognosis tends to be more favorable. Other factors that influence survival rates include:

  • Age at diagnosis – Individuals diagnosed before age 50 have higher five-year survival rates than those diagnosed after 50, most likely due to younger patients often being in better health than older patients.
  • The tumor’s cellular makeup – Research has found that patients whose tumors carry a specific BAP1 mutation have a median survival of five years (compared to the patients in the study who did not have the BAP1 mutation and had a median survival of less than one year).
  • Gender – One-, three- and five-year mesothelioma survival rates tend to be higher for females than males, possibly due to how female estrogen hormones interact with tumor cells.

Do mesothelioma survival rates vary by type?

The mesothelioma survival rate also varies significantly by type, as listed below. It’s important to remember that the following survival rates reflect previous outcomes and do not take into consideration new breakthroughs in treatment and individual factors such as age, stage at diagnosis and overall health.

Pleural mesothelioma 

Pleural mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the lungs and is the most common type, making up between 80% and 90% of all mesothelioma cases. It’s also the most aggressive type of mesothelioma and is associated with the poorest outcomes.

National average survival rates for pleural mesothelioma are as follows:

  • One-year survival rate: 73%
  • Three-year survival rate: 23%
  • Five-year survival rate: 12%
  • Ten-year survival rate: 5%

Peritoneal mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdominal cavity. It’s the second most common type of mesothelioma, occurring in about 15% to 20% of cases.

Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma often have a more positive prognosis and better treatment options available to them. The national average survival rates for this type are as follows:

  • One-year survival rate: 92%
  • Three-year survival rate: 74%
  • Five-year survival rate: 65%
  • Ten-year survival rate: 39%

Pericardial mesothelioma 

Pericardial mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the heart and is very rare, making up around 1% of all mesothelioma cases. Because of its rarity—fewer than 50 cases are diagnosed in the United States each year—treatment options are limited and the national average survival rates are generally low:

  • One-year survival rate: 26%
  • Three-year survival rate: 14%
  • Five-year survival rate: 9%
  • Ten-year survival rate: Not reported

Testicular mesothelioma 

The least common form of mesothelioma is testicular mesothelioma, which develops in the lining of the testicles and accounts for less than 1% of cases. National average survival rates aren’t available, but the general life expectancy for a person with this cancer is around two years. 

Is mesothelioma always fatal?

Mesothelioma is a deadly disease that is fatal in the large majority of cases. Still, breakthroughs in treatment and improvements in supportive care strategies are steadily bettering outcomes and quality of life for patients—some of whom live 10 years or longer after diagnosis. 

Many mesothelioma treatment plans focus on controlling symptoms, slowing the progression of the disease and finding ways to stay active and live comfortably. Supportive care professionals such as dieticians, pain management specialists and counselors can assist patients in navigating the physical and emotional challenges of living with mesothelioma and help them achieve their best well-being.

Moffitt’s approach to mesothelioma

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we are committed to improving outcomes and quality of life for patients with all types of mesothelioma through advanced treatments and compassionate supportive care. In fact, our mesothelioma survival rates are nearly two and a half times higher than national averages. Our Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center develops novel therapies that show significant promise in treating mesothelioma, and we make those treatments available to qualified patients through ambitious clinical trials.

Moffitt takes a “bench to bedside approach”—when our oncologists have a breakthrough in the lab, we use those findings to improve the mesothelioma treatment plans of our patients. Our commitment to innovation and improving outcomes is evidenced by our status as Florida’s first National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Furthermore, mesothelioma patients at Moffitt are given the greatest chance to live longer, as they:  

  • Are able to receive more than one form of treatment (for instance, a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy)
  • Are seen by a multispecialty team whose sole focus is mesothelioma, rather than a general physician or community oncologist who may have minimal—if any—experience with this relatively rare cancer
  • Have access to the newest and most innovative therapies, such as immunotherapy and mesothelioma vaccines (although none of these are a proven cure, they often help enhance survival and quality of life)

To learn how mesothelioma survival rates apply to your specific diagnosis or to receive a second opinion at Moffitt’s Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. No referral is necessary to visit Moffitt.

References Mesothelioma Survival Rate Types of Mesothelioma Mesothelioma Statistics