Survival rates for mesothelioma patients are dependent upon a variety of factors. It is often difficult to pinpoint the cause or origin of the disease because it can take anywhere between 20 and 50 years to appear after such exposure. While Stage 1 or stage 2 mesothelioma is often potentially curable, Stage 3 and stage 4 mesothelioma is not; such patients are often relegated to palliative treatments to relieve symptoms and restore quality of life.
Some good news for sufferers is that treatment for Mesothelioma is 75% successful. It involves conventional cancer therapies using radiation and chemotherapy. Surgery by itself has been less successful.
The sale of asbestos has been outlawed in many countries due to health concerns, and handling of asbestos is regulated by strict safety guidelines throughout the world. However, in many countries asbestos is in great demand as a cheap, easy to use and durable construction material, and there is therefore a wide market for it. This is especially true in the Middle East, where many are still unaware of the health risk involved with asbestos and do not know what is Mesothelioma. Even in well to do countries such as the UAE, local demand is great. Unfortunatly, so is local supply: Asbestos was widely used in construction in the past- recent reports have estimated that between 70% to 90% of all residential structures in Dubai contain some form of asbestos. Throughout Dubai, as old structures are demolished to make way for the new, eager residents attempt to buy the dismantled old asbestos panels. Moreover, there is also apparently a sizeable black market trading in asbestos panels.
Lack of awareness of the Mesothelioma disease and of the various Malignant Mesothelioma Types is accompanied by a lack of knowledge on the cancer’s prevention and Mesothelioma treatment options. This confounds the measures taken by the UAE authorities to limit asbestos exposure and to prevent the disease. By cintrast, high profile lawsuits by Mesothelioma victims in the United States and other countries has raised public awareness and driven companies and individuals to act more responsibly.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma included shortness of breath, chest wall pain, and weight loss, and diagnosis can be checked using a CT scan or chest X-ray, and can be confirmed with a biopsy.
Lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers have been appearing since 1929. Since then, the liability from such court cases has reached billions of dollars for not providing a safe working environment even after the links between prolonged asbestos exposure and Mesothelioma have been confirmed.
factors that may include any or all of the following:
Mesothelioma Latency Period
Mesothelioma is an unusual form of cancer in that it has a very long latency period. Essentially, this means that the disease often “hides” in the body for many years, sometimes for up to four or five decades. Hence, 40-50 years may have passed since initial exposure to asbestos first occurred. This extended latency period also means that the disease is not detected until symptoms arise. Often, by that time, the cancer has spread from the primary area to other parts of the body.
Stage of Disease at the Time of Diagnosis
Individuals whose mesothelioma is discovered in Stage 1 or 2 have a greater chance of surviving the disease for an extended period of time due to the fact that more treatment options will be available to them. Individuals diagnosed with Stage 3 or 4 mesothelioma will have fewer treatment options, and thus, a less favorable prognosis. The worst mesothelioma prognosis is seen in patients with advanced cancer that present or are symptomatic with distant metastases of the primary tumor, i.e., the cancer has spread from the primary area to other parts of the body.
Operability of the Tumor
Due to the aforementioned latency period, surgery to remove the primary mesothelioma tumor is often not an option. However, if the disease is discovered in an early stage, a surgical procedure to remove the tumor may be a possibility, especially when the patient is otherwise healthy.
Age of the Patient
The younger the patient, the better the chance for survival. Studies have shown that age does indeed play a factor in survival rate and young patients certainly fair better.
Co-morbidity with Other Illnesses
Patients, especially older ones, who have many other medical issues are less likely to survive for any length of time with mesothelioma. This is especially true with older patients, who account for large numbers of mesothelioma victims. Heart disease, kidney problems, diabetes, hypertension, and a host of other illnesses or disorders can severely impact treatment options and, hence, shorten a patient’s life span.
Mesothelioma Treatment Plan
The length of time a mesothelioma victim survives may depend on the treatment(s) he receives. Most doctors will be as aggressive as possible, understanding that this is a tough cancer to treat.
Area and Type of the Disease
Mesothelioma comes in various forms. About 75 percent of cases appear in the pleura, 15 to 20 percent in the peritoneum, and just 5 percent in the pericardium. Pleural mesothelioma is easier to treat and patients will generally have a longer mesothelioma survival rate than those whose disease is centered elsewhere. In addition, those with epithelial mesothelioma(most cases are of this type) have a better prognosis than those with other types of mesothelioma.
Today an overwhelming number of Mesothelioma cases have been from members of navies and people that work in shipyards, as asbestos is still used for shipbuilding for its heat resisting capabilities. The family of US Navy sailor Gerald Gary was awarded $1.2 million in a lawsuit after Gary died at age 75 following 20 years of service building Navy vessels. Apparently the Navy did nothing to prevent its workers from inhaling large amounts of asbestos fibers every working day.
Source: http://www.pprune.org/middle-east/440277-uae-mesothelioma-cancer-causing-asbestos-still-major-danger-health.html & http://mesothelioma.com