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Mesothelioma Prognosis

A prognosis is a medical opinion as to the likely course and outcome of a disease. Factors that affect the prognosis for mesothelioma include the tumor size, the amount of fluid in the chest or abdomen, and whether the tumor can be completely removed. The doctor will also consider statistics from hundreds or thousands of cases. However, it's important to remember that a prognosis is only a prediction.

What Is the Prognosis for Mesothelioma?

People who are facing mesothelioma are naturally concerned about what their future holds. Understanding this disease and what to expect can help patients and their loved ones:
  • Plan mesothelioma treatment
  • Think about lifestyle changes
  • Make decisions about their quality of life and finances.
Many people want to know their mesothelioma prognosis. They may ask their doctor for information or search for statistics on their own.

What Is a Prognosis?

A prognosis is a medical opinion as to the likely course and outcome of a disease. In other words, the prognosis is the chance that a person will recover or have a recurrence (return of the cancer). Many factors can affect a person's prognosis.
Factors that can affect a person's prognosis with mesothelioma include:
  • The type and location of the cancer
  • The stage of the disease (the extent to which the cancer has metastasized, or spread)
  • Its grade (how abnormal the cancer cells look and how quickly the cancer is likely to grow and spread)
  • The person's age, general health, and response to treatment.
When doctors consider a person's prognosis, they carefully assess all of the factors that could affect that person's disease and treatment, and then try to predict what might happen. The doctor will base the prognosis on information researchers have collected over many years about hundreds (or even thousands) of people with cancer. When possible, the doctor will use statistics based on groups of people whose situations are most similar to that of an individual patient.
The doctor may speak of a favorable mesothelioma prognosis if the cancer is likely to respond well to treatment. The prognosis may be unfavorable if the cancer is likely to be difficult to control. However, it is important to keep in mind that a prognosis is only a prediction -- the doctor cannot be absolutely certain about the outcome for a particular patient.
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