One of the challenges with extending mesothelioma life expectancy is that it is very short for those who have late stage cancer. Once a cancer has spread to distant organs, it is very difficult to keep tumors from spreading even further. And it is difficult to stop tumors from spreading in the organs they currently reside in. This is due to the limitations of modern medicine. When the mesothelioma has spread, life expectancy is generally measured in months instead of years. It is common for many patients to have only six months or one year left to live. Because of this, early detection and treatment of this condition is very important in extending life expectancy.
The early stages of this condition are much easier to treat. There is a chance that the chemotherapy will work on the small amount of localized tumors. Those tumors may not be resistant to the chemotherapy. If successive generations of tumors arise from the current tumors, they may become resistant to chemotherapy. That is why early treatment can be so promising for some patients. That is how mesothelioma life expectancy can increase dramatically.
In the later stages, the tumors have already spread beyond to originating organ. And they are often resistant to chemotherapy. That is the reason why life expectancy is dramatically reduced for those who have the later stages of cancer. There may be experimental treatments that can counteract the chemotherapy resistant tumors. The patient will need to make a decision regarding future care. Should the patient continue medical treatment knowing that chances of survival have gone down considerably? Or should the patient go to palliative care? This is a decision that the patient will ultimately need to make. A oncologist can be very helpful in giving the information that the patient needs to make this decision.
Once the cancer is all over the body, most patients go to palliative care in order to improve comfort and decrease pain while the cancer works through the body. At this point, standard medical treatment has little chance of extending a patient’s life for any significant amount of time. That is when patients may want to decide to focus on increasing the quality of life rather than extending it. However, this is a personal decision. And may patients do decide to keep fighting until the end.