Survivors Book

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

Studies have shown that the average life expectancy for mesothelioma patients ranges between four and 18 months. This is because most people affected by this rare form of cancer don't show symptoms until 30 to 50 years after their initial exposure to asbestos.For this reason, mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose without your doctor knowing about this exposure. That might sound unnerving, but it's reassuring to know that regardless of the stage, treatments are available that can prolong your life and its quality. They usually consist of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.


The stage of your cancer is one of the main factors that affect life expectancy. To determine the stage, cancer specialists use CT scans, MRI scans, and x-rays.

In the first stage, mesothelioma attacks one side of the chest. In the next stage, it affects the chest wall, heart, and/or esophagus. In Stage III, the cancer spreads to lymph nodes beyond the chest. It may also affect the lining of the abdominal area, causing peritoneal mesothelioma. During the last stage, mesothelioma spreads through the bloodstream to the brain, liver, bones, and other organs. Most specialists use the TNM system (Tumor, Nodes, Metastases) to determine the staging for pleural mesothelioma.

Factors that Affect Your Life Span

Not telling your doctor about your asbestos exposure can mean you don't get diagnosed until the last stages. This is a serious misstep because those who receive a mesothelioma diagnosis in the first stages can greatly improve their life spans. Some have gotten treatment during Stage I and lived another five years. Those who are diagnosed in the second stage and seek treatment have raised their life expectancy range another four years.

Additional factors that affect your prognosis include your age, the time between diagnosis and asbestos exposure, the location and size of tumor, if and how it has spread, and type of tissue affected. Your ability to respond to treatment may also influence life expectancy.

Getting Help

After being diagnosed with mesothelioma, most patients are overwhelmed by medical bills and other financial obligations. If you are in this situation, know that a good mesothelioma lawyer can help you receive compensation and cover the costs of treatment. Contact us for more information on coping with mesothelioma.

Last Edited: Sun July 26, 2020