About 40 percent of patients with mesothelioma survive the first year after diagnosis. That survival rate depends on many factors, including age, cancer stage, cancer type, race and gender. Long-term survivors attribute their success to treatment from a mesothelioma specialist, alternative medicine and nutritional changes.

Mesothelioma Survival Rates

Researchers describe the mesothelioma survival rate in several ways. They usually talk about it in terms of one-year survival, the percentage of people who survive for a year after diagnosis. Through their studies, they also look at longer survival times, including the number of people who live two years, three years and five years.

Mesothelioma claimed nearly 30,000 American lives between 1999 and 2010. About 40 percent of U.S. patients live to the one year mark. By the second year, about 20 percent of patients are still alive. And by the third year, the number is 8 percent.

Factors That Affect Survival Rate

Many patients want to know if mesothelioma is curable, but survival rates for mesothelioma cancer vary by the patient's age, gender, race and several other factors. The location, stage and cell type of the cancer, as well as your overall health, have the strongest influence on your prognosis. Below is a breakdown of some common factors and how each correlates to a patient's survival rate:

The average life expectancy for a mesothelioma patient ranges from 12 to 21 months, depending on a variety of factors, such as the stage in which the patient was first diagnosed with the cancer. About 40 percent of mesothelioma patients survive one year, and 20 percent live more than two years.

The good news is that survival rates for mesothelioma patients are improving. A 2015 meta-study looked at 20 years worth of results from 1992 – 2012, and during that period the two major forms of mesothelioma (pleural and peritoneal) have both seen an improvement in survivorship.

The Effect of Treatment on Survival

The type of treatment a mesothelioma patient receives can affect survival rates. Whether this is due to the treatment itself or to other factors (e.g., if the patient is too ill to undergo a more aggressive treatment) may not always be apparent. While there has been no single study showing survival rates based on treatment across all types of mesothelioma, separate studies have been done on the two most common forms of mesothelioma.

Other Survival Rate Factors

The survival rate for mesothelioma patients depend on a variety of factors. These include things such as the patient’s age, health, and the treatment they receive. Ever individual case is different, and one survival rate may not necessarily apply to a specific patient’s case.

Stage at Diagnosis

Mesothelioma staging can impact survival rate significantly. Patients diagnosed at an early stage (Stage I or Stage II) have a much higher survival rate than those diagnosed at a later stage (Stage III or Stage IV). For example, the 5-year survival rate for Stage 1 peritoneal mesothelioma patients is 87 percent, but only 29 percent for Stage IV.

Age of the Patient

Younger mesothelioma patients have higher rates of survival than older patients. This is due in part to the fact that older people in general have lower survival rates. In addition, with age comes a variety of health-related conditions that can make a mesothelioma diagnosis more deadly.

Sex

According to data provided by the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database, women have a higher 5-year survival rate (16%) than men (9.3%). It is not entirely clear why this is so, though some reasons may include that women are generally diagnosed at a younger age, they are more likely to get regular medical checkups, and they may be in better overall health.

Race

There is some evidence that African-Americans who have mesothelioma have a slightly longer 5-year survival rate than Caucasian mesothelioma patients. However, because Caucasians have a much higher incidence of mesothelioma, there may not be enough cases of African-Americans who have the disease to make a substantive determination.

Genetics

Several studies have shown that certain genetic factors can affect survival rates among patients. For example, mesothelioma patients who have certain mutations of BRCA1-associated protein-1 (BAP1) appear to have much better survival rates than other individuals who develop the disease, according to one study.