For the asbestosis lawyer seeking mesothelioma compensation on behalf of their client, tragically time can so often run out, when the victim finally succumbs to the fatal disease within a short period of time, leaving the spouse and immediate family to continue pursuing the claim,
It is particularly unfortunate that asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma or asbestosis, are unable to be diagnosed until the last stages of development. This is because of the unusually long latency period involved, from the victim’s first exposure to asbestos to when the first asbestosis symptoms appear, often after 40 to 50 years.
There is also the additional difficulties of making a correct diagnosis as the symptoms of mesothelioma are less specific and often resemble less serious conditions. Consequently, the prognosis for many of the patients can be less favourable despite recommended treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to effectively deal with the disease.
Malignant mesothelioma is most often diagnosed in individuals over 55 years old, though there can be exceptions. Some patients already have multiple medical problems caused by advancing age, making treatment even more difficult and increasing the mortality rate amongst the mesothelioma sufferers.
A standard procedure to address the cancer will be to progress through a series of four stages. Unfortunately, once the disease has reached stage three or four, treatment options not only becomes more limited but also less effective. When a patient is diagnosed with stage four mesothelioma, their health condition often rules out the possibility of surgery. Treating mesothelioma becomes more difficult the later diagnosis occurs.
In addition to the stage of the cancer and the age of the patient, other factors affecting prognosis include:
Type of mesothelioma – pleural, peritoneal, pericardial or testicular.
Size of the tumour.
Location of the tumour and whether it can be surgically removed.
Extent of other symptoms, including fluid in the lungs or abdomen.
The patient is a smoker or non-smoker.
Many studies which have researched survival rates among mesothelioma patients, reference the so-called “five-year relative survival rate”, i.e. the percentage of patients who live at least five years after their cancer is diagnosed.
The five-year relative survival rate for patients with mesothelioma is approximately 10 percent, a small improvement on the 9 percent reported at the end of 2002. Later studies show that the one-year survival rate has now increased over five years to around 40 per cent. Throughout the 1990s, it was rare for a patient to survive more than a year after diagnosis. In 2001, more than 160 people in the UK died from complications relating to asbestosis.
Though numerous factors affect a patient’s prognosis such as age, overall health, and type of mesothelioma, the average length of survival reported throughout the last five years has been 10 to 11 months after diagnosis.