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Mesothelioma Survival Rates Have Remained Flat for Decades

mesothelioma survival rates

Mesothelioma survival rates have stayed steady for decades, even though treatments are improving.

According to more than 25 years worth of data from the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank, people with malignant mesothelioma live a median of 15 months. That number has changed little since 1990.

Charting Mesothelioma Patients Over Time

Researchers from several major US cancer centers compiled the new report. The goal was to chart mesothelioma survival rates over time and identify factors that impact them.

The group evaluated mesothelioma survival rates from 888 cases of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma in the NMVB. The NMVB houses information on more than 1400 mesothelioma cases diagnosed between 1990 and 2017.

Overall mesothelioma survival rates stayed right around 15 months. But there were differences between the two major types of mesothelioma.

Pleural mesothelioma patients live for a median of 14 months. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma. It starts on the membrane that surrounds the lungs and can spread to the lungs and surrounding organs.

People with peritoneal mesothelioma live for a median of 31 months. Peritoneal mesothelioma grows on the lining of the abdomen. New treatments helped to boost peritoneal mesothelioma survival rates somewhat.

Peritoneal mesothelioma patients who have a combination of surgery and intraperitoneal chemotherapy live the longest.

Factors Influencing Mesothelioma Survival Rates

Mesothelioma is one of the deadliest types of cancer. But there are still cases of longer survival. Paul Kraus, the world’s longest living mesothelioma survivor, is still living 20 years after his mesothelioma diagnosis.

The researchers confirmed what other studies have found; certain people have much better mesothelioma survival rates than others. The types of patients who tend to live the longest are:

  • Under 45 years old
  • Female
  • Have the epithelioid subtype
  • Diagnosed with Stage I disease
  • Have peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Received a combination of surgery and chemotherapy

No matter which type of mesothelioma a person has, those who had both surgery and chemotherapy improved their mesothelioma survival rates. Having surgery and chemotherapy – as opposed to just one type of treatment – produced a median survival of 23 months.

For more information on long term mesothelioma survival, read Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers by Paul Kraus. In it, Kraus reveals the treatments, lifestyle and diet that have helped him survive mesothelioma for more than 20 years.  


Amin, W, et al, “Factors influencing malignant mesothelioma survival: a retrospective review of the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank cohort”, June 3, 2019, F1000 Research, https://f1000research.com/articles/7-1184/v3

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