Each individual patient’s peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis will be different, depending on several factors related to both the disease and the patient himself. After receiving a conclusive diagnosis, usually following the affirmative results of a tissue or fluid biopsy, your doctor will explain to you your treatment options as well as the prognosis, or predicted outcome, of your condition.
Understanding the Disease
Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common form of a rare type of cancer that affects the mesothelium-a delicate, film-like lining of certain internal organs. One of those is the peritoneum, which covers both the abdominal cavity and the organs within it. There are two layers of the peritoneum: the parietal and the visceral.
When someone is exposed to airborne asbestos fibers, they can enter the body through the nose or mouth. The tiny, crystal-like particles make their way through either the digestive or lymphatic system into the peritoneum-where they ultimately become embedded for the remainder of the victim’s life. Over time, irritation and inflammation-caused by the abrasive fibers-produce changes within mesothelial cells. In some cases, these changes result in tumor formation and the development of malignant, or cancer, cells inside the peritoneum-the outcome of this process, which usually takes 20-50 years to occur, is peritoneal mesothelioma.
Understanding the Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis
The prognosis for mesothelioma cancer, in general, is poor. Peritoneal mesothelioma carries a slightly less favorable prognosis than the pleural variety, but all forms are considered terminal. There is no cure for cancer, and mesothelioma is one of the most difficult forms to treat, resulting in very poor rates of remission.
Some of the factors that affect a patient’s prognosis include the stage and cell type of the disease. The size, as well as the exact nature and location, of the tumor play a role as well.
The overall physical health of the patient is important in predicting treatment outcome. Generally speaking-the younger a patient is and the better his or her total health, the better the prognosis. Women also tend to respond more favorably to treatment than men.
The type of treatment a patient receives can have a significant bearing on his or her peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis. One of the most promising developments in curative medicine involves a multimodal approach that combines surgery with a follow-up round of chemotherapy. Clinical evidence has shown some hope for improved prognoses in patient’s receiving this course of treatment.
Generally, the peritoneal mesothelioma life expectancy remains around one year. About 25 percent of peritoneal mesothelioma victims survive for three years, and the survival rates drop rapidly and considerably after that point. There are rare instances of so-called “survivors,” who live with the disease for 10, 20 years or more.
As cancer researchers continue to dedicate attention and resources to developing improved treatments for mesothelioma specifically, hope remains that its dismal prognoses can be improved and patient survival rates may soon soar.