Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

Mesothelioma life expectancy is a physician’s best estimate of how long a patient is likely to live after a mesothelioma diagnosis. Mesothelioma patients typically live less than two years after being diagnosed. Life expectancy is affected by the type, location, and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health and other factors.

Get A Free Mesothelioma Guide

What Is the Average Mesothelioma Life Expectancy?

The average mesothelioma life expectancy ranges from 12 to 21 months.

With such a short life expectancy, many people feel confused and overwhelmed after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. However, it’s important to note that these numbers are only estimates.

Some patients may outlive their life expectancies by years or even decades with medical treatment. There are several mesothelioma treatment options available that can help increase a patient’s life span and improve their overall quality of life.

Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other innovative treatments have all been shown to be effective in slowing the spread of mesothelioma cells and extending a patient’s life span.

Learn about ways you can improve your mesothelioma life expectancy with our Free Mesothelioma Guide.

Free 2023 Mesothelioma Guide
  • Find Cancer Resources
  • Get Medical Care
  • Access Compensation
Download Your Free Guide

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy vs. Survival Rate

Doctors use the mesothelioma life expectancy and survival rate statistics to provide a patient’s full mesothelioma prognosis. Although they are similar, life expectancy and survival rate are two different metrics.

The mesothelioma survival rate is the percentage of patients still alive after a certain amount of time. For example, mesothelioma has an overall 73% 1-year survival rate.

This means that 73% of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma live for more than a year after their diagnosis.

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy by Cancer Type

The life expectancy for mesothelioma patients can vary significantly depending on the type of mesothelioma they have. Learn about life expectancies by mesothelioma type below.

Pleural Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lung lining (pleura), is the most common type of this cancer. Roughly 3 in 4 mesothelioma patients will have this type. The average pleural mesothelioma life expectancy is 18 months after diagnosis.

One of the main factors that influences a pleural mesothelioma life expectancy is the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis.

Pleural mesothelioma is the only type of mesothelioma that follows an official staging system. Each mesothelioma stage has a different life expectancy because patients may be eligible for more aggressive treatments during its earlier stages.

StageDescriptionLife Expectancy
Stage 1Cancer cells only present in the lining of one lung21 months
Stage 2Cancer cells have spread into the lung and/or nearby lymph nodes19 months
Stage 3Cancer tumors spread into more body parts and lymph nodes16 months
Stage 4Cancer is found in distant areas of the body12 months

Beyond staging, many other factors can impact pleural mesothelioma life expectancy. These include the patient’s overall health and the effectiveness of cancer treatment.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdomen.

On average, patients with peritoneal mesothelioma have a life expectancy of 53 months with treatment. This is the highest average life expectancy for all types of mesothelioma.

The primary reason for the longer life expectancy in peritoneal mesothelioma patients is that the cancer responds well to a specific treatment called cytoreductive surgery with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC).

This treatment combines surgery to remove tumors with heated chemotherapy that is circulated through the abdominal cavity to kill any remaining cancer cells. Some patients have even lived for 15 years or more thanks to this treatment.

Free 2023 Mesothelioma Guide
  • Find Cancer Resources
  • Get Medical Care
  • Access Compensation
Download Your Free Guide

Pericardial Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

Pericardial mesothelioma is one of the rarest types of mesothelioma, accounting for less than 1% of all cases. It affects the lining of the heart, which makes it difficult to treat.

Unfortunately, pericardial mesothelioma also has the shortest average life expectancy of all types, with most patients surviving only 2-6 months after diagnosis.

Patients aren’t usually diagnosed until the cancer has progressed to a later stage or after the patient has already passed.

Testicular Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

Testicular mesothelioma is rare, with only a few hundred cases ever reported, but patients have an average life expectancy of 46.7 months after surgery, the second-longest of all types.

However, recurrence of testicular mesothelioma is common, happening in 60% of cases within two years after radical orchiectomy, a surgical treatment to remove one or both testicles with cancer cells. After recurrence, the median life expectancy is around 12 months.

Despite these challenges, it’s important to note that some patients with testicular mesothelioma can still live for 10 years or more with proper treatment and care.

What Factors Affect the Life Expectancy for Mesothelioma?

Predicting a mesothelioma patient’s life expectancy is challenging for doctors due to the many factors that can impact survival.

Several critical factors strongly influence a patient’s life expectancy. These factors include the location of the cancer cells, size of the tumors, and a patient’s age and overall health.

Doctors must carefully assess each of these factors before providing an accurate life expectancy and recommending treatments.

Cell Type

Mesothelioma has three primary cell types: epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic. Each cell type responds differently to treatments, and thus the life expectancy varies greatly.

  • Patients with epithelioid mesothelioma, also known as epithelial mesothelioma, have an average life expectancy of 14 months.
  • In contrast, sarcomatoid mesothelioma patients have an average life expectancy of only 4 months.
  • Biphasic mesothelioma patients, whose tumors contain a combination of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells, have an average life expectancy of 10 months.

Doctors can determine which mesothelioma cell type is present when making a diagnosis. Fortunately, most patients will have epithelioid mesothelioma (which is the easiest to treat).

Mesothelioma Stages

The stage of mesothelioma at diagnosis can play a significant role in life expectancy.

While pleural mesothelioma is the only type with a formal staging system, doctors may categorize any type of mesothelioma into early stages or late stages.

Early-stage mesothelioma patients typically have a longer life expectancy because they may be eligible for surgery or other treatment options.

In contrast, late-stage patients are more likely to have metastases (spreading to the rest of the body), which limits their treatment options and life expectancy.

Overall Health

A patient’s overall health is an important factor in determining their mesothelioma life expectancy.

Those who are in good health and do not smoke are generally better candidates for life-extending treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.

Maintaining good health through regular exercise, a healthy diet, and other lifestyle habits may also help patients live longer with mesothelioma.

Healthier patients may experience fewer complications from treatment and may be better able to tolerate any side effects.

Patient’s Age

Age can also play a role in mesothelioma life expectancy. Younger patients may be better able to tolerate aggressive treatments, which mean they may live longer than older patients.

Patient’s Sex

The patient’s sex can also impact mesothelioma life expectancy. Women with mesothelioma have a longer life expectancy than men, on average.

This could be because women tend to develop mesothelioma at a younger age and may have a stronger immune response to the cancer.

However, the reasons for this difference are not fully understood, and more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Free 2023 Mesothelioma Guide
  • Find Cancer Resources
  • Get Medical Care
  • Access Compensation
Download Your Free Guide

Improving Mesothelioma Life Expectancy With Treatment

Mesothelioma patients can improve their life expectancy with mesothelioma treatment. The best way for patients to find treatment options is to work with a mesothelioma specialist at a top cancer center.

Mesothelioma specialists commonly advise multimodal treatment plans, which combine multiple mesothelioma treatments to increase survival time.

The most effective treatments for mesothelioma include the following.

Mesothelioma Surgery

Mesothelioma surgery involves removing cancerous tissue and is often key to helping improve life expectancy, particularly in early-stage patients.

Common surgical treatments for mesothelioma include:

  • Cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC: Used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma. Tumors are surgically removed from the abdomen lining and then the lining is bathed with warmed chemotherapy. The average life expectancy is 53 months following this surgery.
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP): Used to treat pleural mesothelioma by removing the lung lining and the lung nearest to the cancer tumors. Patients typically live for 35.6 months when treated with an EPP, chemotherapy, and radiation.
  • Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D): Also used to treat pleural mesothelioma, but unlike an EPP, doctors don’t remove the lung. Only the lung lining and cancer tumors are taken out. Patients live for 34 months on average with this surgery.

Doctors will let you know if any of the surgeries above will be available to improve your mesothelioma life expectancy.


Mesothelioma chemotherapy uses medications that can improve life expectancy by killing cancer cells, reducing tumor size, and inhibiting cell growth.
This treatment is administered in cycles and involves intravenous delivery of several chemotherapy drugs.

Chemotherapy drugs used for mesothelioma treatment may include:

  • Carboplatin
  • Cisplatin
  • Gemcitabine
  • Pemetrexed

According to the American Cancer Society, chemotherapy is highly effective in treating mesothelioma when paired with surgery.

Patients who can’t get surgery can also receive chemotherapy to live longer. In these cases, patients live for 14.1 months on average, according to a 2020 study.


Mesothelioma immunotherapy was recently approved as a mainstream treatment option to improve life expectancy. This treatment uses immune-boosting drugs to help the patient’s immune system identify, target, and kill cancer cells.

A 2020 study found that pleural mesothelioma patients treated with immunotherapy lived for 18.1 months on average.

Radiation Therapy

Mesothelioma radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors.

One common type of radiation therapy for mesothelioma is called intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). This type of treatment uses computer-generated images to precisely target the tumor while minimizing radiation exposure to healthy tissue.

Pleural mesothelioma patients treated with IMRT following P/D and chemotherapy had an average life expectancy of 23.6 months, according to the journal Thoracic Cancer.

New Mesothelioma Treatments and Clinical Trials to Improve Life Expectancy

Cancer research and clinical trials are dedicated to finding better methods of treatment for cancer of all types, including mesothelioma.

In fact, some patients who have participated in clinical trials have seen improvements in their mesothelioma life expectancy.

There are a number of treatment types currently undergoing clinical trial testing that may be able to assist in improving the life expectancy for mesothelioma cancer patients.

Some emerging mesothelioma treatments include:

  • Cryotherapy: Uses extreme cold to freeze and kill cancerous cells
  • Gene therapy: Carefully alters DNA replication of cancer cells so they cannot multiply or grow
  • Photodynamic therapy: Involves patients injected with light-sensitive medicine that attaches to cancer cells. When exposed to light these cancer cells are then killed.

Reach out to your health care provider to learn if any mesothelioma clinical trials may help improve your life expectancy.

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy Without Treatment

Life expectancy for mesothelioma without treatment remains poor. Without treatment, the average survival for pleural mesothelioma patients is 4-12 months and 6-12 months for peritoneal mesothelioma patients.

However, not all patients may qualify for or wish to undergo aggressive treatments.

In such cases, a patient’s oncologist (cancer doctor) and care may recommend treatments to help manage symptoms. These are known as palliative care options.

Palliative treatments such as minor surgeries, low doses of chemotherapy or radiation, and alternative therapies like acupuncture all may help improve quality of life.

Free 2023 Mesothelioma Guide
  • Find Cancer Resources
  • Get Medical Care
  • Access Compensation
Download Your Free Guide

Find Help to Improve Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

Getting treatment is the best way to improve your mesothelioma life expectancy. If you’re looking to find the best treatments after a mesothelioma diagnosis, we can help.

Our on-staff nursing support team can:

  • Connect you with registered nurses who can answer your questions
  • Help you find top mesothelioma treatments and doctors faster
  • Refer you to financial resources to pay for treatments

Don’t wait: get a free case review to learn more about accessing – and affording – top mesothelioma treatments that can help you live longer.

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy FAQs

What is the life expectancy of someone with mesothelioma?

On average, the life expectancy of someone with mesothelioma is around 12-21 months from the time of diagnosis.

Unfortunately, mesothelioma is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, which can make treatment more difficult and reduce the life expectancy of affected individuals.

However, some patients can outlive their projected mesothelioma life expectancy by years or even decades with proper medical care.

Mesothelioma treatment is the best way to improve a patient’s prognosis and slow the progression of the cancer.

A mesothelioma doctor who specializes in oncology (cancer medicine) can recommend treatments, including clinical trials, that may help slow progression and improve life expectancy.

The specific life expectancy for each patient will depend on factors such as the stage of the cancer, the location of the tumors, and the patient’s overall health.

Pleural mesothelioma patients can live for over around 3 years on average if they undergo surgeries. Peritoneal mesothelioma patients have a life expectancy of nearly 4 and a half years when they receive surgery and chemotherapy together.

Cancer specialists will be able to determine which treatments will best to improve your mesothelioma life expectancy.

Various mesothelioma treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, can improve mesothelioma life expectancy.

Clinical trials also offer new treatments that may extend life expectancy.

Yes, mesothelioma can sometimes go into remission with treatment. Remission is when there are no visible signs or symptoms of the cancer.

Though remission is rather rare in mesothelioma patients, it is possible. In a study from the journal Lung Cancer, 7% of pleural mesothelioma patients treated with an EPP and chemotherapy went into remission. These patients lived for 53 months longer on average than patients who didn’t go into remission.

Without treatment, the life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is usually between 4 and 12 months for pleural mesothelioma and 6-12 months for peritoneal mesothelioma.

It is essential to work with a medical professional to develop a treatment plan. You are highly encouraged to get treatments to improve your mesothelioma life expectancy.

Mesothelioma Symptoms was founded by a team of advocates to educate people about this aggressive form of cancer. Mesothelioma affects thousands of people each year. We help give hope to those impacted by mesothelioma.

  1. American Cancer Society. Five-year survival rates for mesothelioma. Retrieved from: Accessed on February 18, 2023.

  2. Arrieta, O., Lozano-Ruiz, F., Blake-Cerda, M., Catalán, R., Lara-Mejía, L., Salinas, M.Á., Maldonado-Magos, F. and Corona-Cruz, J.F. (2020). “Locoregional control and toxicity after pleurectomy/decortication and intensity-modulated pleural radiation therapy in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.” Thorac Cancer. Retrieved from: Accessed on March 7, 2023.

  3. Brydges, H., Yin, K., Balasubramaniyan, R., Lawrence, K. W., Luo, R., Karlson, K. J., McAneny, D. B., Edwards, N. M., Reardon, M. J., & Dobrilovic, N. (2022). “Primary Pericardial Mesothelioma: A Population-Based Propensity Score-Matched Analysis.” Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. Retrieved from: Accessed on February 28, 2023.

  4. Enomoto, L. M., Shen, P., Levine, E. A., & Votanopoulos, K. I. (2018). “Cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy for peritoneal mesothelioma: Patient selection and special considerations.” Cancer Management and Research. Retrieved from: Accessed on February 28, 2023.

  5. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. (2017). “Induction chemotherapy, extrapleural pneumonectomy and adjuvant radiotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma.” Retrieved from: Accessed on March 7, 2023.

  6. Journal of Thoracic Disease. (2021). “Long-term outcomes after lung-sparing surgery for epithelial mesothelioma.” Retrieved from: Accessed on March 7, 2023.

  7. Lau, B., Kumar, S., Yan, T., Burn, J., Kennedy, C., McLean, J., Boyer, M., McCaughan, B., & Kao, S. (2017). Pathological complete response in malignant pleural mesothelioma patients following induction chemotherapy: Predictive factors and outcomes. Lung Cancer. Retrieved from: Accessed on March 7, 2023.

  8. McGehee, E., Gerber, D. E., Reisch, J., & Dowell, J. E. (2019). “Treatment and Outcomes of Primary Pericardial Mesothelioma: A Contemporary Review of 103 Published Cases.” Clinical Lung Cancer. Retrieved from: Accessed on February 28, 2023.

  9. National Cancer Institute. Mesothelioma treatment (PDQ®)–patient version. Retrieved from: Accessed on February 18, 2023.

  10. OncLive. (2020). “Nivolumab/Ipilimumab Demonstrates Durable OS Benefit in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.” Retrieved from: Accessed on March 7, 2023.

  11. Rossini, M., Rizzo, P., Bononi, I., Clementz, A., Ferrari, R., Martini, F., & Tognon, M. G. (2018). “New Perspectives on Diagnosis and Therapy of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.” Frontiers in Oncology. Retreived from: Accessed on February 28, 2023.

  12. Vimercati, L., Cavone, D., Delfino, M.C. et al. (2019). “Asbestos exposure and malignant mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis: a systematic review and the experience of the Apulia (southern Italy) mesothelioma register.” Environ Health. Retrieved from: Accessed on February 28, 2023.

Get Immediate Help

Call Today. Patient Advocates Are Standing By to Help You.

Being diagnosed with mesothelioma is a very stressful time. Our patient advocates have over 20 years of successfully guiding mesothelioma patients to access treatment and pursue compensation. Let us help you too.

  • Locate top mesothelioma doctors
  • File your mesothelioma claim
  • Access the latest clinical trials

Our patient advocates are ready to help. Call today at (888) 360-2406.

Connect With a Patient Advocate Now