Those who follow the latest developments in mesothelioma are constantly deriving encouragement from the tremendous pace of progress that is being shown in all facets of scientific research. These include new discoveries in early diagnosis and detection, exciting innovations in treatment modalities and combinations, and extended survival rates for those who have been diagnosed with the disease.
Mesothelioma is still considered a fatal disease, but there are notable examples of patients who have received treatment from cancer centers located all around the world who have survived for several years past the generally accepted median survival. It is hoped that as researchers continue dedicating themselves to finding a cure, the life expectancy of those who have been diagnosed will be expanded.
Mesothelioma patients and their loved ones who seek a firm estimate on how long they can be expected to live may experience frustration in trying to get an answer to this important question. Some mesothelioma patients only live for a few months after the time that they are diagnosed, while others have lived for years. The differences between life expectancy between different patients depend upon a number of different factors, including age, overall health, type of mesothelioma and even the facility at which they are treated.
Kaiser Gornick Understand your Confusion
A mesothelioma diagnosis can be extremely overwhelming. With so many medical issues requiring your attention it is easy to forget about your legal rights, but it is important to protect yourself and take care of your family. The attorneys at Kaiser Gornick understand how upsetting mesothelioma is. Contact us and learn how we can help you.
Latency Period of the Disease
One of the things that make mesothelioma so unusual and so difficult to treat is the fact that it has an extremely long latency period. A latency period is the amount of time between when a disease first develops in the body and the time that it begins to manifest the symptoms that allow it to be diagnosed. Mesothelioma’s latency period can be fifty or sixty years.
The problem with a long latency period is that the disease is growing and doing its damage for a long period of time without being treated. By the time physicians have identified it the cancer may have spread to different organs and areas of the body, and the further it has spread the more difficult it is to treat and the shorter the patients’ life expectancy will be.
Identifying the Stage of the Mesothelioma
Staging is a process that is undertaken in every cancer patient, and mesothelioma is no exception. By conducting a thorough examination and a series of diagnostic tests physicians are able to assess exactly how advanced the cancer is by how far it has spread from its point of origin. For mesothelioma patients, knowing the stage of their disease is critical to being able to make treatment decisions and to anticipate survival.
Though patients with Stage I and Stage II mesothelioma are much more likely to respond well to treatment and have longer rates of survival, these patients are extremely rare because of the disease’s long latency period. In most cases mesothelioma patients are either in Stage III or Stage IV of the disease. In these cases, palliative treatment is often a strong consideration as there is a lower likelihood of a successful outcome from traditional modalities of treatment.
Location of the Tumor is Key
When mesothelioma cells divide and multiply within the walls of the mesothelium they grow into tumors. Removal of these tumors can enhance a mesothelioma patient’s survival rate and life expectancy, but the ability to successfully perform surgery depends upon the location of the tumor within the body.
Because mesothelioma forms within the lung cavity and abdominal cavity where other important organs and structures are located, the tumor may be inaccessible. It also may impact vital organs. Either one of these situations reduces a patient’s survival expectancy.
Overall Health and Condition
Finally, the patient’s age and overall health condition are crucial to the patient’s ability to withstand surgeries and other aggressive treatments. This is a key factor in anticipating life expectancy and plays a large role in the decisions that need to be made regarding appropriate treatments.
Competent and Professional Resources
When looking for the best medical outcome it is important to seek medical professionals who have a proven record of knowledge and expertise in treating mesothelioma, and the same is true when you seek legal counsel. The attorneys of Kaiser Gornick have been providing successful representation to mesothelioma victims for years, and they can help you too.