Unfortunately, mesothelioma typically has a low survival rate. This disease, sometimes known as asbestosis, is rare, aggressive, and difficult to treat when caught in its later stages. To further complicate matters, symptoms are often misdiagnosed, since they mirror other health problems. However, it is possible to increase your survival rate. This best comes with an early diagnosis, as you will generally have more options regarding treatment. New types of testing are making early detection more possible, too, further raising those numbers. Those who have managed to beat the odds owe their successes to the belief that typical survival rates are not set in stone. They believe that with a positive attitude, these averages need not apply.
Beating The Odds
Some patients have surpassed the averages by years, even decades. Life expectancy after diagnosis depends on a list of factors, including:
- Location of the tumor(s)
- Stage of the disease
- Immune system
- Treatments used
- Expectations and mental outlook of the patient
Dealing with this illness can be frightening, but it's comforting to know that there are some uplifting examples of those who have surpassed their prognoses. These instances don't represent all patients, but they may serve as inspiration to those facing a similar experience.
- James O'Connor, given one year to live, opted out of chemo, radiation, and surgery. Instead, he chose mind/body therapy and a nutritional program. He survived seven years.
- Judy Glezinski went through numerous surgeries before turning to meditation, nutrition, and massage. She lived another 20 years.
- Karen Grant, diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2004, remains cancer-free after seven years. She attributes her longevity to positive thinking.
- Stephen Gould, diagnosed in 1982, continued to live another 20 years. At that point, he died from an unrelated cancer.
There are many, many more similar stories out there. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, take heart in the fact that some are able to survive many years. Study available treatments and therapies, and be determined to be another success story.