Life Expectancy for Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Quick Summary

Peritoneal mesothelioma comprises only about 10-20% of all mesothelioma cases. This type of cancer is the second most common type of mesothelioma, after pleural mesothelioma. However, peritoneal mesothelioma presents a better prognosis than other types do.

The sensitive locations of pleural and pericardial mesothelioma (the linings of the heart and lungs) contribute to their poorer prognoses. With the right treatment approach, peritoneal patients can have a comparatively favorable prognosis.

Peritoneal mesothelioma develops when a person ingests asbestos fibers, often through inhalation. Rather than lodging in the lungs, as with pleural mesothelioma, the fibers are stuck in the abdominal lining while the body is attempting to expel them. These fibers can then cause genetic damage to the cells, causing them to mutate and become cancerous. As a result, the cells begin improper cell division and form a cancerous tumor. However, the process is slow and peritoneal mesothelioma may not be evident for decades after asbestos exposure.

The majority of peritoneal mesothelioma patients live at least one year after diagnosis. However, life expectancy varies from patient to patient. Doctors form an estimate based on individual patient characteristics, as well as facts about cancer itself. These factors can include stage and cell type (histology). Biological factors include patient age, gender, blood characteristics, and established health conditions.

Breakthroughs in mesothelioma treatment have led to promising improvements in life expectancy and survival rates for peritoneal mesothelioma patients. Today, more than half of peritoneal mesothelioma patients will survive five years or more after original diagnosis.

Survival Rates for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Patients

The chart below shows the survival rates at 1, 3, 5, and 10-year increments for peritoneal mesothelioma patients.

YearsSurvival Percentage

Treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma includes the standard three approaches to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Multimodal treatment, which combines these three types, is the ideal approach for treating peritoneal mesothelioma patients. On their own, these treatment methods can be somewhat helpful in managing the disease, reducing side effects, and improving quality of life. Still, they are most effective when combined.

Treatments to Improve Life Expectancy for Peritoneal Mesothelioma

In addition to these standard treatments, patients can access leading-edge approaches such as immunotherapy through clinical trials. While options for participation in clinical trials can be limited, the advent of new treatment approaches is exciting and shows hope for the future of mesothelioma care.

Peritoneal mesothelioma patients can increase their life expectancy through cytoreductive surgery combined with heated chemotherapy. However, certain patients won’t benefit from, or qualify for, advanced surgical procedures.

Some patients are qualified to receive cytoreductive surgery. Often blended with HIPEC (Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy), this surgery is performed with the goal of removing any known tumors from the abdomen. HIPEC consists of a very concentrated heated chemotherapy wash which is used to bathe the abdomen and is applied directly during surgery.

During this process, the surgeon will rinse the abdomen with a saline solution and apply and drain the heated chemotherapy wash. Then, the surgeon closes the abdomen.  The goal of combining cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC is to remove the tumor and ensure any leftover cancerous cells are killed, thereby preventing them from spreading.

Studies show that combining cytoreductive surgery combined with HIPEC can significantly increase life expectancy, with more and more patients reaching the 5-year survival rate. One study stated that this treatment resulted in a median survival rate of more than 7 years. This is just one way that the peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis shows future promise.

How You Can Improve Your Life Expectancy

Talking about life expectancy after you’re diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma can be tough. At first, it may seem like you’ve lost control of your body and health. Things may seem hopeless when dealing with this aggressive form of cancer. However, you can still make positive changes. At best, these changes can improve your life expectancy. Even if they don’t, they can improve your quality of life and help you feel healthier while dealing with mesothelioma. It can also be helpful emotionally to be proactive about your health. It allows you to keep some aspect of your health under your own control and ensure that the cancer does not affect every aspect of your well-being.

Life Expectancy Update

Peritoneal mesothelioma patients can aim to improve their life expectancy by making lifestyle changes, and working with the best in the field to find a treatment plan that works for them. Patients with early stage peritoneal mesothelioma usually have the most options available to them. Of course, your cell type will also play a role. Your oncologist will determine the type of cell that makes up the mesothelioma tumor and factor this into your prognosis.

However, your general health also factors into life expectancy. Past illnesses, surgical procedures, and habits will impact how mesothelioma affects your life and which treatments are available to you. There are also factors you can’t control, such as your age and gender. Blood characteristics are also an important consideration. If your doctor finds that you have abnormal platelet counts, hemoglobin, or red or white blood cell counts, this could affect your prognosis.

That said, it is always helpful to look for ways to lead a healthier lifestyle. This can potentially increase your life expectancy. If not, it can improve your general wellbeing, ease symptoms, and help you live more comfortably.  Remember to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet, avoid smoking, and get enough sleep. Look for ways to reduce stress as well. Although cancer and treatments such as chemotherapy can cause fatigue and impact your physical capacity, try to incorporate some moderate or light exercise whenever you can.

Working With A Peritoneal Mesothelioma Specialist

A mesothelioma specialist is the best choice for discussing how to extend life expectancy. Specialists are great resources for staying in-the-know about the latest clinical trials and research breakthroughs. They are intensely familiar with the intricacies of peritoneal mesothelioma and can provide better recommendations and advice when forming your individualized treatment plan.

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer, and while general oncologists can understand many of the common characteristics mesothelioma shares with other cancers, specialists can provide an even more advanced level of care. Finding the right specialist can mean an improved prognosis and a better level of understanding of mesothelioma for you and your loved ones.

Finally, keep in mind that information about peritoneal mesothelioma is still emerging as we work to better understand this complicated disease. Consequently, it is extremely beneficial to broaden your information sources and get a second opinion from a mesothelioma specialist. Through no fault of their own, someone who is not intricately familiar with this type of cancer may not be able to provide the most accurate prognosis.

There have been cases where patients were given a certain life expectancy or diagnosis that later turned out to be inaccurate. Seeing a specialist allowed these patients to get the correct information about their health and life—and that information is truly invaluable.