The sad reality of a peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis is that most patients will live less than two years from the date of diagnosis. Though several factors do affect each individual patient’s mesothelioma life expectancy, the most pertinent is the stage of the cancer at the time it is caught. This not only determines how severe the illness is but also what treatment options are available to its victim and how well he or she is likely to respond to whatever form of treatment is used.
Stages of Cancer in the Peritoneum
Peritoneal is the second most common form of mesothelioma, affecting only 10-30 percent of total victims. It is also considered, in general, more difficult to treat and therefore tends to carry a less favorable prognosis that the much more common pleural variety. It affects the peritoneum, which is a thin, protective layer of membranes covering the stomach and abdominal cavity and is considered an especially aggressive form of cancer.
Cancer of the peritoneum does not have a specific staging system, but in general, cancers can be broken down into four phases. Stage one is considered the most treatable and carries the most favorable peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis, as it describes a malignancy that is still contained in a localized region of origin and has not spread to other parts of the body.
Unfortunately, because of both its long latency period and significant diagnostic challenges presented in the medical setting, both peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma tend to not be diagnosed until stages three or four-after the cancer has moved through the lymphatic system or bloodstream into other parts of the body. This latter type of spread-which indicates the most severe phase of any cancer-is called metastasis.
Other Factors Affecting a Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis
One of the other most significant variations in cases of mesothelioma is the cell type of the disease. There are three different cells that can form within a malignancy and its affected organ(s): epithelial, sacromatoid and a mixture of the two. Epithelial mesothelioma is the most common, seen in approximately half of all diagnosed cases; it is also considered the least aggressive and is usually most responsive to treatment attempts. The mixed type is the second most common, presented in about 35 percent of all cases, and is also the second most treatable. Sacromatoid type mesothelioma is relatively uncommon but is the most aggressive and fatal form of the illness.
Many personal factors affect a patient’s peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis, including his or her age, gender and overall health. There are always exceptions to the norm; but generally speaking, patients who are younger, female and in good physical condition respond best to treatment and have the most promising outlook after diagnosis.