Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Mesothelioma survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who survive beyond a specified time period. Overall, malignant mesothelioma has a 5-year survival rate of 10%. However, survival rates of mesothelioma are only estimations based off several factors. Many patients may be able to outlive their survival rate with treatment.

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What Is the Survival Rate of Mesothelioma?

Doctor holds stethoscope to patient's chest

The survival rate of mesothelioma is the percent of people who are still alive a certain length of time after their mesothelioma diagnosis. Physicians often discuss the survival rate of mesothelioma with their patients to help them understand what they might expect throughout the course of the disease.

Mesothelioma survival rates are often measured at 1-year, 3-year, or 5-year intervals.

The following are the average survival rates for all types of mesothelioma:

  • 1 year: 73%
  • 3 years: 22.9%
  • 5 years: 10%

However, survival rates for mesothelioma cancer differ significantly based on various factors, including the type of mesothelioma, mesothelioma treatment the patient is eligible for, and individual patient circumstances.

Keep in mind that these rates are only average estimates, and with the appropriate cancer treatment plan, some people may achieve long-term survival.

Learn how you can live longer after a mesothelioma diagnosis with our Free Mesothelioma Guide.

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Mesothelioma Survival Rate vs. Life Expectancy

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

The life expectancy of mesothelioma refers to the amount of time a specific patient may live with mesothelioma. Like mesothelioma survival rates, life expectancy is based on factors such as age, health, and treatments.

It is important to remember that these statistics are just estimates. They are used only to provide general information about a patient’s prognosis. Some patients live beyond the survival rates and life expectancy of mesothelioma provided by their specialists.

Factors That Affect the Survival Rate of Mesothelioma

There are various factors that impact a patient’s survival rate and how long they can live after being diagnosed.

These factors include age, mesothelioma cell types, type of mesothelioma, and the patient’s overall health. Learn about how each of these factors influences mesothelioma survival rate.


A patient’s age at the time of diagnosis can impact their mesothelioma survival rate.

Younger patients tend to have higher survival rates for mesothelioma than older patients. This could be because their bodies respond to and recover from treatment better.

Age5-Year Survival Rate
Younger than 50 years old42.1%
50-64 years old16%
Older than 657.7%


Mesothelioma is more common in men. However, women diagnosed with the cancer have a tendency to survive longer than men.

Women are also more likely to develop peritoneal mesothelioma, which has a more positive prognosis than other types of mesothelioma.

Medical professionals believe that hormones and the level of asbestos exposure may play a role in the varying survival rates for mesothelioma. More research is needed to better understand why women diagnosed with mesothelioma have a better survival rate.

Overall Health at the Time of Diagnosis

The health status of the patient at the time of diagnosis is also an important factor that affects mesothelioma survival rates.

Patients who are generally healthy, physically active, and keep a balanced diet tend to have a better chance of fighting mesothelioma as their bodies, and particularly their immune systems, are stronger.

Healthier patients also recover from treatment quickly with fewer side effects, allowing doctors to pursue more intensive treatment methods.

Mesothelioma Type

There are four types of mesothelioma and each type starts in a different part of the body. Which type of mesothelioma you have greatly impacts your survival rate, as some are easier to treat than others.

For instance, peritoneal mesothelioma, which develops in the lining of the abdomen, has a much better overall survival rate compared to the other types.

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Survival Rate by Mesothelioma Type

Mesothelioma survival rates also vary depending on which type of this cancer you have. There are four types of mesothelioma, and each type forms in a different part of the body. Some types are easier to treat than others, and thus some patients have better survival times.

Pleural Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma, and it develops in the mesothelial cells that make up the lining of the lungs (pleura) which is part of the thoracic cavity.

Unfortunately, this form of lung cancer has lower long-term survival rates when compared to other types of mesothelioma.

The 5-year survival rate for pleural mesothelioma is 12.5%.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen or stomach.

According to cancer research from the American Cancer Society, mesothelioma that affects the peritoneum has better survival rates than other types of mesothelioma.

The 5-year survival rate for peritoneal mesothelioma is around 47%.

Pericardial Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Pericardial mesothelioma is a rare form of mesothelioma that develops in the lining of the heart.

Studies suggest that most patients with pericardial mesothelioma do not survive beyond a year after diagnosis because, by the time of diagnosis, the cancer is more advanced.

In the chances that it is detected early, the five-year survival rate for pericardial mesothelioma is 9%.

Testicular Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Testicular mesothelioma is an extremely rare form of mesothelioma that develops in the thin lining of the testicles. It has a better prognosis than other types of mesothelioma.

The 5-year survival rate for testicular mesothelioma is about 49%.

Mesothelioma Survival Rate by Cancer Stage

The stage of mesothelioma in a patient is an incredibly important factor that affects survival rates.

Pleural mesothelioma is the only type of mesothelioma that has an official staging system. That said, doctors can often classify the other types of mesothelioma into “early” or “late” stages informally.

Overall, mesothelioma detected in an early stage — before it has spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body — is more responsive to treatment and has a better survival rate.

Stage 1 Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Patients with stage 1 pleural mesothelioma have the best prognosis because they are eligible for more aggressive treatments and cancer cells have not yet spread throughout the body.

The 5-year survival rate of patients diagnosed with stage 1 mesothelioma is 16%.

Stage 2 Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Stage 2 mesothelioma is still in its early stages. Cancer cells remain located on one side of the body and may have reached the lung, diaphragm, or lymph nodes

The 5-year survival rate of patients diagnosed with stage 2 mesothelioma is 13%.

Stage 3 Mesothelioma Survival Rate

By stage 3, mesothelioma cancer cells have spread to deeper tissues and to lymph nodes. Patients in this stage start to have fewer treatment options. For example, it may no longer be possible to get life-extending surgery.

The 5-year survival rate of patients diagnosed with stage 3 mesothelioma is 11%.

Stage 4 Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Stage 4 mesothelioma diagnoses have the lowest survival rates as this is the most advanced stage of the cancer. By this time, cells have spread to distant parts of the body and lymph nodes, making it very difficult to treat.

The 5-year survival rate of patients diagnosed with stage 4 mesothelioma is 4%.

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Survival Rate by Mesothelioma Cell Type

The cells that make up mesothelioma tumors influence survival rate because of the unique behaviors of each cell type. There are three mesothelioma cell types — epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic.

Epithelioid Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Epithelioid (also known as epithelial) mesothelioma cells grow more slowly and respond better to treatment than the other two types of mesothelioma cells. Epithelioid mesothelioma cells are rectangular in shape and tend to clump together, allowing them to be easily removed by surgery.

For this reason, people with epithelioid mesothelioma tend to have a higher mesothelioma survival rate than those with other cell types.

The 5-year survival rate for epithelioid mesothelioma is approximately 26%. This rate applies to patients with epithelial pleural mesothelioma who received a lung-removal surgery called an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP).

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells grow and spread more quickly than the other two cell types, making them more difficult to treat. These cells are spindle-shaped and don’t stick together very well, which is why they spread faster than epithelioid mesothelioma cells. As a result, it is hard to remove all of these cells with surgery alone.

People with sarcomatoid mesothelioma have a lower mesothelioma survival rate than those with the other cell types. The 5-year survival rate for sarcomatoid mesothelioma is typically less than 5%.

Biphasic Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Biphasic mesothelioma refers to a tumor made up of a combination of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells.

The mesothelioma survival rate for biphasic tumors can vary depending on the ratio of epithelioid to sarcomatoid cells.

If the biphasic tumor has a higher percentage of epithelioid cells, a patient may have a better mesothelioma prognosis. However, a higher percentage of sarcomatoid cells may mean a patient won’t live as long.

How Treatment Improves Mesothelioma Survival Rates

Doctor hands mesothelioma patient papers

Receiving treatment from mesothelioma specialists is crucial for those diagnosed with mesothelioma, as it can increase their chances of living longer and beating average survival rates.

Treatment effectiveness varies for each patient, and a multidisciplinary team can determine the best course of treatment.

The goal of mesothelioma treatment is to eliminate as many cancer cells as possible using a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Treatments used to improve mesothelioma survival rates include:

  • Surgery: Surgery for mesothelioma is the most common treatment option, and it can significantly improve survival rates of mesothelioma if the cancer is caught early. Common types of surgery include cytoreductive surgery, extrapleural pneumonectomy, and pleurectomy with decortication.
  • Chemotherapy: Mesothelioma chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells and can be used alone or in combination with other treatments. It can improve survival rates of mesothelioma by slowing the growth of cancer cells and shrinking tumors.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy for mesothelioma uses high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells. While it can be used alone, this treatment is most often used alongside other treatments to shrink tumors, relieve pain, and improve overall survival rates for mesothelioma.
  • Immunotherapy: Mesothelioma immunotherapy uses immune-boosting drugs to support the patient’s immune system in fighting the cancer.
  • Clinical trials: Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments for mesothelioma. While not all clinical trials are successful, they can offer patients the opportunity to try new treatments and potentially improve their survival rates of mesothelioma.

How helpful treatments will be depends on the patient’s individual situation and whether the cancer is in early stages or later stages.

If you have mesothelioma, consult with your doctor and specialists to determine the best course of treatment for your specific case.

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Mesothelioma Survival Rate Without Treatment

Without treatment, the mesothelioma survival rate is likely poor, The average survival time for untreated mesothelioma ranges from 4 to 12 months, depending on the stage, type, and location of the cancer.

It’s important to note that every case is different, and some patients may live longer or shorter than the average expectancy.

However, choosing not to treat mesothelioma is generally associated with a lower survival rate and a reduced quality of life.

Find Help Understanding Mesothelioma Survival Rate

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s important to seek help and support from health care professionals, mesothelioma specialists, and support groups.

By finding the right resources, you can learn about treatment options, cope with the emotional and physical challenges of the disease, and take steps towards outliving the average mesothelioma survival rate.

Thankfully, our team has nurses and nursing support personnel on staff who can help you find top doctors and treatments following a mesothelioma diagnosis. Getting the best medical care possible is crucial to living longer with this cancer. Contact us or call (888) 360-2406 now to get started.

Mesothelioma Survival Rate FAQs

Can you survive mesothelioma?

Yes, in some cases. While mesothelioma can be difficult to treat, there are cases of long-term survival. A handful of patients have lived for 20 years or more thanks to medical treatment — far surpassing the average survival rates for mesothelioma.
How long you’ll live after a diagnosis depends on various factors, such as the stage of cancer, the type of mesothelioma, and your overall health.

The longest amount of time someone can live with mesothelioma depends on individual factors and can vary widely.

Some patients have lived for several years or more after diagnosis, especially with early detection and aggressive treatment.

It is rare for mesothelioma to go into remission. Complete remission means no sign of cancer after treatment. Some patients may achieve partial remission, which can be a positive sign and improve quality of life.

At this time, there is no cure for mesothelioma. However, some patients have lived for years and even decades after their diagnosis thanks to mesothelioma treatment.

There are several things you can do to improve your mesothelioma survival rate, such as seeking treatment from a mesothelioma specialist, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and considering clinical trials for new treatments.

It’s important to work closely with a mesothelioma specialist and stay informed about available treatment options.

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.

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  2. 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 on March 1, 2023, from:

  3. Galetta, D., Catino, A., Misino, A., Logroscino, A., & Fico, M. (2016). “Sarcomatoid mesothelioma: future advances in diagnosis, biomolecular assessment, and therapeutic options in a poor-outcome disease.” Tumori. Retrieved on March 1, 2023, from:

  4. National Cancer Institute. “Treatment Option Overview for Mesothelioma.” Retrieved on February 19, 2023, from:

  5. Nazemi, A., Nassiri, N., Pearce, S., & Daneshmand, S. (2019). “Testicular Mesothelioma: An Analysis of Epidemiology, Patient Outcomes, and Prognostic Factors.” Urology. Retrieved on March 1, 2023, from:

  6. Oliveira, Guilherme H. (2015). “Characteristics and Survival of Malignant Cardiac Tumors: A 40-Year Analysis of >500 Patients.” Retrieved on March 1, 2023, from:

  7. Pass, H., Giroux, D., Kennedy, C., et al. (2016). “The IASLC Mesothelioma Staging Project: Improving Staging of a Rare Disease Through International Participation.” Journal of Thoracic Oncology. Retrieved on March 1, 2023, from:

  8. Sugarbaker, D. J., Garcia, J. P., Richards, W. G., Healy-Baldini, E., Mentzer, S. J., Liptay, M. J., Strauss, G. M., & Swanson, S. J. (1996). “Extrapleural pneumonectomy in the multimodality therapy of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Results in 120 consecutive patients.” Annals of Surgery. Retrieved on March 1, 2023, from:

  9. University of Maryland Medical System. “Cytoreductive surgery and Hipec.” Retrieved on February 19, 2023, from:

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