According to the American Cancer Society, the prognosis for a person diagnosed with mesothelioma depends upon the type, location, stage and treatment. As with most forms of cancer, the earlier it is detected, the better the chances of survival. However, with mesothelioma, even when diagnosis is made at stage one, the survival time is still often less than 2 years, with an overall 5+ year survival rate between 5%-10%.
Mesothelioma is often caused by exposure to asbestos, and is usually found in the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) and the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma). In rare cases, it can also be found in the sac that surrounds the heart (pericardial mesothelioma). Mesothelioma affects two different types of cells - epithelial cells and less commonly, sarcomatoid cells, though some patients will also have a mix of both that are affected.
The survival rate for mesothelioma varies for each patient. Based on statistics from the American Cancer Society, those with epithelial mesothelioma have a higher survival rate. Additionally, pleural mesothelioma patients often have a better chance of survival than those with peritoneal or pericardial mesothelioma.