Pleural Mesothelioma Survivors

Quick Summary

Pleural mesothelioma is an incurable disease that has been long known for its bleak prognosis. But today, stories of patients outliving their original prognosis and becoming survivors of the disease are not as rare as they once were.

If you were recently diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, it’s important to keep in mind that maintaining hope is not a lost cause, as treatments for pleural mesothelioma improve and awareness of the disease increases.

While the likelihood of surviving pleural mesothelioma depends on your age, disease stage, cell type and many additional factors, every patient has a chance. Some truly incredible stories of survival have emerged despite the odds. And, there are several factors within your control that can help you work toward combating pleural mesothelioma and generating remission.

From participating in clinical trials at the forefront of the medical community and caring for your mental and general health to starting treatment from an experienced pleural mesothelioma specialist, there are plenty of ways you can take charge and start the first steps toward beating this disease. The amazing mesothelioma survival stories that we’ve seen so far will hopefully provide inspiration and motivation to those that have recently been diagnosed with this tough form of cancer. Hopefully, with time, stories like these will become the norm.

What is Pleural Mesothelioma Survival?

Pleural mesothelioma cannot yet be cured, so the current goal is to help patients reach remission. Survivors of pleural mesothelioma who have reached remission, often live for many years without the disease recurring. In some cases, it may never come back. These patients can treat mesothelioma as a manageable illness where they still have to have follow-up appointments and keep their health in check. They may even receive additional therapies. Their doctors will also keep an eye out for recurrence.

Surviving Pleural Mesothelioma Update

For many oncologists, this is the next goal to work toward in treating mesothelioma. Some doctors believe that eventually, mesothelioma can be treated like any other chronic illness. Patients will live long and healthy lives, managing their cancer on the side.

Right now, achieving mesothelioma remission is rare, but possible. Because of the disease’s tendency to come back, even after all evidence of the cancer is removed, doctors do not refer to patients in remission as cured. But with the right combination of aggressive treatments, pleural mesothelioma patients in otherwise good health and with strong immune systems have a shot at surviving cancer-free for many years.

Types of Remission

Cancer remission is often referred to in two categories:

Partial Remission: (or partial response) is when the cancer is responsive to treatment and reduces in size. Sometimes this simply means that the mesothelioma is not spreading and the tumor is maintaining its current size without additional growth.

Complete Remission: On the other hand, there is no evidence of mesothelioma cells in the body. This doesn’t mean that there are no undetected cells or that there is no chance that the mesothelioma will return. It simply means that all visible traces have been removed. For that reason, complete remission is sometimes referred to as there is No Evidence of Disease or NED.

Treating Pleural Mesothelioma for Cancer Remission

To send pleural mesothelioma into remission, there are a few treatment options. Most commonly, the two treatments used to generate pleural mesothelioma remission are the aggressive surgical procedure called an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and the slightly less invasive pleurectomy/decortication (P/D). While chemotherapy and radiation therapy are often used to treat pleural mesothelioma, they are less effective, especially when used alone. In addition, chemotherapy comes with significant side effects.

Extrapleural Pneumonectomy

An extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) is recommended for pleural mesothelioma patients whose cancer is in the early stages (stage 1 or 2). Due to the delayed symptoms and often late diagnosis associated with pleural mesothelioma, it is often too late for patients to qualify for this aggressive surgery. For patients who do qualify, the procedure involves the total removal of the cancerous lung. As well, sections of the diaphragm, heart lining (pericardium), and pleura are removed.

The surgery removes the majority of the cancerous tissue in pleural mesothelioma patients, often increasing their lifespan by significant amounts and making breathing easier. When an EPP is combined with radiation therapy, it can send cancer into remission.

Pleurectomy/Decortication (P/D)

A pleurectomy/decortication consists of two steps. First, the surgeon will open the thoracic cavity to extract the pleural lining and any visible cancerous tissue. Then, evident tumors are removed from the area, including within the lung. The lung itself is spared. In recent years, some doctors have claimed that the P/D is preferable to the EPP, due to its lower risk and lower impact nature.

Known as a lung-sparing surgery, the procedure is significantly safer than an EPP. While in the past it was used as a palliative measure, today it is a viable and often preferable alternative to the EPP for early-stage pleural mesothelioma patients. As one segment of a multimodal treatment plan, the P/D has shown in some studies to be associated with longer survival times. However, with both surgeries recurrence is common.

Clinical Trials

Even though new frontline treatments are not proven, they can also play a role in increasing survival for select patients. They also have the added advantage of eliciting improvements in existing treatments.

When considering the effectiveness of clinical trials, remember that the most successful therapies for treating different types of cancers were once in the trial stage and had not been proven. Many emerging therapies show remarkable potential. And, new research and awareness about mesothelioma will only help inform the development of treatments. Participating in clinical trials can be highly beneficial both for yourself and for other patients. If you would like to learn more about available opportunities to participate, ask your doctor about your options today.

Beating Pleural Mesothelioma

It’s easy to get swept up in all the information about pleural mesothelioma, reinforcing that it is an often fatal disease with a poor prognosis. But there is much more that patients should be aware of. Surviving is possible, and survivors’ awe-inspiring stories should serve as inspirations for every other patient. Mesothelioma specialists worldwide are dedicated to finding a cure and making mesothelioma manageable in the meantime. Likewise, your care team is dedicated to your health, wellbeing, and helping you achieve remission.

While remission won’t be possible for every pleural mesothelioma patients, you should never lose hope. Some survivor accounts are truly astounding, with patients exceeding all expectations for their prognosis. As well, no matter what, you’re part of a ground-breaking and global effort to tackle mesothelioma and create more survivors.

What Next With Pleural Mesothelioma?

If you’re wondering what steps to take to improve your pleural mesothelioma prognosis and increase your chances of becoming a survivor, we can help. First, get in touch so that we can help you find the right mesothelioma specialist to manage your treatment. Remember that it’s important to get a second opinion on your prognosis. There may be encouraging factors that you didn’t even know about.

A specialist can provide the absolute best insight into your pleural mesothelioma prognosis. Talk to your doctor about keeping your immunity up and maximizing your general health. And don’t forget to inquire about clinical trials for access to pioneering pleural mesothelioma treatments.

Ready to get started? Contact Mesothelioma Help Now at (800) 584-4151.