Survival Rates for Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Quick Summary

Survival rates are just one aspect that doctors consider when developing your peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis. While there is no certain way to determine how long a patient will live after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, survival rates act as historical indicators, so doctors can get a better idea at your chance of living for a certain length of time.

As there is no cure for mesothelioma, you may be uncertain about what survival really means. Generally, the term is used when a patient is considered to be in complete remission. In other words, they show no visible evidence of mesothelioma and no signs of recurrence. While it’s rare for mesothelioma to completely disappear without recurrence, it can happen. Unfortunately, recurrence is often part of the process.

Survival rates for peritoneal mesothelioma are generally higher than those for pleural and pericardial mesothelioma. The survival rates are higher largely because the abdominal cavity is easier to treat than the sensitive lungs and heart. However, these rates are still far from where we want them to be. The good news is that survival rates are improving over time. Studies that observed mesothelioma patient cases over 20 years showed an encouraging improvement in survivorship for peritoneal mesothelioma patients. Things are looking up, as doctors get closer to their goals of mesothelioma being a treatable disease.

Survival rates are described using time increments as benchmarks. Depending on the data, these can be quite detailed, showing rates by yearly increments. Usually, rates are discussed in terms of 1, 5, and 10-year survival.

The current survival rates for peritoneal mesothelioma patients are as follows:

1 year
3 years75%
5 years65%
10 years39%

Mesothelioma Survival Rates vs. Life Expectancy

Survival rates can often be confused for life expectancy – and vice versa. Although these two terms are commonly used close together, they mean different things.

Life expectancy refers to the amount of time a certain patient is predicted to live after being diagnosed. Life expectancy is based in part on the data from survival rates, as this data helps inform the estimation.

Survival rates refer to the percentage of diagnosed patients who live a certain number of months or years. These rates are determined based on past data and statistics regarding the survivorship of peritoneal mesothelioma patients. While it’s easy to confuse the two phrases, there are good reasons to be aware of the distinction. In particular, it’s important to remember that survival rates do not dictate your life expectancy.

It is entirely possible to outlive the statistics, and this is becoming more and more common. Survival rates include data from many patients who may not be at all similar to you or may have received treatment long ago. Every patient is unique, and every patient should have hope.

How Are Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival Rates Calculated?

Researchers are able to determine peritoneal mesothelioma survival rates by looking at how long other patients have lived after being diagnosed. They look at the records and historical data of peritoneal mesothelioma patients over time and use their findings to establish the median rates.

However, general peritoneal mesothelioma survival rates are not necessarily relevant to each patient individually.

For example, the 65% 5-year survival rate included in the chart above incorporates data from patients of any gender, race, age and with different cancer stages, treatment options, and mesothelioma cell types. In fact, some of the patients examined may not have received treatment at all. The data also includes patients with different pre-existing health conditions as well as those who did not work with a mesothelioma specialist.

Because of these variances, it’s important not to look at the overall peritoneal mesothelioma survival rates as a given. Instead, you should view them purely as guidelines and remember that they are regularly improving.

What many patients may not be aware of is that there is a lot of misleading information on mesothelioma survival rates. Because so many of the statistics that doctor’s look at today rely on data from older studies, much of the information is not as relevant as it could be. Important advancements such as the emergence of new treatment combinations and increase in access to specialists have helped improve current survival rates.

Survival rates can be defined by a variety of patient factors. For example, the stats in the chart above included data for patients of all ages. However, a younger mesothelioma patient has a better chance of receiving effective treatment and living longer than the statistics indicate. Because survival rates have the potential to be misleading, try to focus more closely on what your doctor tells you, rather than on outdated studies and reports found elsewhere.

Some key points to remember when looking at survival rates include:

  • Age of the data: because survival rates are based on the historical data of patients treated in the past, the numbers don’t always reflect the latest developments in treating peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Specialist involvement: Survival rate data includes results from patients who were treated by general oncologists, not mesothelioma specialists. Being treated by a specialist who fully understands the patterns and intricacies of this rare disease is highly advantageous. A mesothelioma specialist is the best way that you can ensure you’re getting the most appropriate treatment and offers the best chance at improving your prognosis to surpass the survival stats.
  • Reception of any treatment: Some patients included in the calculation of survival rates didn’t receive any treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma – let alone state-of-the-art treatment.

Overall, it is crucial to be aware that there is always some level of inaccuracy in survival rates. This is not to instill distrust or cause confusion, but rather to reinforce the idea that every patient has their own chance at longer survival and that hope should not be hindered by what the numbers say.

Awareness and New Treatments Improving Survival Rates

As peritoneal mesothelioma awareness increases, early detection is becoming more commonplace. Because symptoms of mesothelioma often don’t appear for many decades after asbestos exposure, early detection was not always a possibility. Today, with the progress made in understanding the disease and more widespread knowledge among specialists, it is becoming easier to treat the mesothelioma before it becomes advanced.

Cytoreductive surgery combined with by Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) is currently considered to be the most successful treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma. This treatment consists of an invasive surgery to remove the tumors found in the abdominal lining. The extent of the surgery will depend on how far cancer has spread. Once the surgeon has completed the procedure, they apply a heated chemotherapy solution to the abdominal cavity.

The warmth of the solution prevents the chemotherapeutic drugs from damaging healthy tissue. The wash is then allowed to circulate, and the surgeon gives it time to absorb.  As a result, there is less chance of any leftover cancerous cells surviving after the surgery.

Survival Rate Update

Research about the effects of cytoreduction and HIPEC has proven to be immensely encouraging. Studies have shown that this combination can result in significantly longer survival for peritoneal mesothelioma patients.

These improvements in treatment combined with increased early detection spark hope and optimism for the future of peritoneal mesothelioma treatment. Early detection, aggressive treatment, and the innovations in new clinical trials will all contribute to better survival rates.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival, Remission, and Finding a Cure

The ultimate goal of peritoneal mesothelioma treatment is to send the cancer into remission. While we know that mesothelioma cannot technically be cured, doctors are treating the disease with the goal of one day making it a manageable condition.

The aim is that more patients can receive early detection, aggressive surgery, and achieve partial or complete remission so that mesothelioma no longer impacts their daily life or well-being. While doctors will continue to search for a cure, we hope that mesothelioma doesn’t have to take over patients’ lives in the meantime.

Now that you know more about peritoneal mesothelioma survival rates, you’re likely wondering how you can best improve your chances at beating them and living a longer, healthier life. If you’re not already seeing a mesothelioma specialist, this should be a top priority.

Get in touch with our team today so that we can connect you with a peritoneal mesothelioma specialist who can get you the high-quality treatment and care that you deserve.