The aftermath of asbestos usage in the United States has left an often tragic and even devastating path of destruction for exposure victims. For close to 100 years, between the late 1800s and mid- to late-1900s, millions of people were unknowingly exposed to a toxic and potentially fatal material. Many were exposed at work, while others came into contact with asbestos in their own homes-either from building components used during construction or through a process called secondary exposure.
Life after asbestos goes on with no detectable consequences for many people. But for the small and unfortunate portion that develops an asbestos-linked illness-such as asbestosis, mesothelioma or other forms of cancer-life is never the same again. All of these chronic and pervasive conditions cause significant physical and emotional distress for the victim-and in the case of mesothelioma cancers, death.
There is much information available about asbestos, its consequences and options for legal recourses. To offer victims of asbestos an easy and straightforward guide that is designed to cover a myriad of topics-from veteran exposure and cutting-edge treatment options to choosing a legal representative and taking your personal injury case to court.
PART III: THE TRUTH ABOUT MESOTHELIOMA LIFE EXPECTANCY
One of the most difficult realities that victims of asbestos must face is the statistically poor mesothelioma life expectancy they are now facing. The bottom-line is that mesothelioma is a terminal condition, with no known cure a survival rate that is essentially non-existent. While there are a small number of notable cases in which victims have lived ten years or longer with the disease in remission, these are simply few and far between. Most individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer are expected to live for less than two years.
Basic Facts About Mesothelioma Life Expectancy
The average length of survival after receiving an affirmative diagnosis is around 18 months, but anywhere from 4 to 24 months is typically considered ‘normal.’ The American Cancer Society reports a survival rate of five years in somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of all mesothelioma cases. After the five-year mark, survival rates drop drastically, leaving only a select few who manage to remain in remission for the better part of a decade or longer.
Factors Affecting Mesothelioma Life Expectancy
Response to treatment for mesothelioma is a chief determinant in life expectancy estimates, as is a patient’s eligibility for aggressive treatment measures. Those with advanced-stage cancers, poor general health or some coexistent health conditions are unlikely to withstand the harsh effects of radical treatment measures like chemo or radiation therapy. As such, patients with those characteristics are much less likely to reach the remission stage or survive past the first year.
Factors that can positively or negatively affect prognoses include the location, stage and cell type of the cancer. Demographic factors, like age and gender, can also have a significant impact on survival rates. For instance, patients under 45 have been shown to survive to both the three- and five-year marks at a much higher percentage than those who are past middle age. Additionally, women appear to be about three times as likely as men to survive for five years or more.
A more detailed analysis of statistical survival rates will be provided in Part V.