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This article about mesothelioma has been approved by licensed medical personnelMesothelioma - Progressive Stages and Treatment

Malignant mesothelioma is a malady in which malignant or cancerous cells grow in the lining of the chest and sometimes the abdomen. The survival rates for this terrible disease are grim. This article will explore malignant mesothelioma and its impact on the health of millions affected by it. Also, we will examine the latest statistics surrounding malignant mesothelioma pleural survival rates.

What is Malignant Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is defined as as a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the pleura (the layer of tissue that lines the chest cavity and covers the lungs) or the peritoneum (the layer of tissue that covers the abdomen and  most of the organs in the abdomen).

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How Do You Get Mesothelioma?

Asbestos exposure is a contributor to mesothelioma.  Asbestos was used as fire-retardant insulation in many buildings, homes, and even in US Naval ships and submarines.

Another set of risk factors for malignant mesothelioma includes:

* Living with a loved one that works around asbestos.
* Exposure to certain viruses.


What Are the Survival Rates of Malignant Mesothelioma?

There are many factors involved in deciding the survival rates of those with malignant mesothelioma. We will further examine those complex factors.

The prognosis and treatment options depend on the following:

  • The stage of the cancer
  • The size of the tumor
  • Whether the tumor can be removed completely by surgery
  • The amount of fluid in the chest or abdomen
  • The patient's age and general health, including lung and heart health
  • The type of mesothelioma cancer cells and how they look under a microscope
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred
     

The average rate of survival for those treated with surgery has been reported as 16 months for those with malignant pleural disease and approximately 5 months for those with extensive disease.

Patients with stage I disease have a much better overall prognosis than those with more advanced stages. Due to the rarity of the disease, information related to survival is quite limited. The stages of the disease are identified as follows:

Stage I

Disease confined within the capsule of the parietal pleura (i.e., pericardium, ipsilateral pleura, lung, and diaphragm).

Stage II

Stage I symptoms along with positive intrathoracic (N1 or N2) lymph nodes.

Stage III

Local extension of disease into the following areas, e.g., chest wall or mediastinum, heart or through the peritoneum or diaphragm , with or without extrathoracic or contralateral (N3) lymph node involvement.

Stage IV

Distant metastatic disease.

What Does The Future Hold?

In looking for treatments for malignant mesothelioma, many new drugs have been developed.  Alimta┬« (pemetrexed) used in combination with cisplatin (Platinol┬«) was recently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of inoperable malignant mesothelioma.  These advances in medicine will hopefully increase the malignant mesothelioma pleural survival rates.