Overall, older mesothelioma patients have a much lower survival rate than younger ones. More than 50 percent of patients diagnosed before the age of 50 live one year, but less than33 percent of patients 75 or older live the same amount of time. Rates are similar for long-term survival. Younger patients have a 20 percent chance of surviving a decade; older individuals have a 1 percent chance.
Mesothelioma Deaths by Age Range: 1999-2005
This difference is largely because younger patients are eligible for more intensive treatments like surgery. Older individuals may not be candidates for these procedures because of poor overall health or a high risk of complications.
Elderly people often manage one or more chronic medical conditions in addition to mesothelioma, such as diabetes, heart disease and COPD. Survival is generally better for younger people because they are less likely to have serious conditions that may make them ineligible for effective treatment options.
It’s rare when someone younger than 50 receives a diagnosis of asbestos-related cancer. The average age at diagnosis is 60, and from 1999 to 2010, nearly 80 percent of Americans who died from mesothelioma were older than 65.
Mesothelioma Survival Rates by Age
When researchers break down survival rates by age, it’s easy to see that the long-term outlook is best for patients diagnosed at a young age. National Cancer institute data show that while 43 percent of patients younger than 45 survive five years after diagnosis, that drops sharply — to 14.3 percent — for patients between the ages of 45 and 54. Overall, 5.7 percent of patients ages 65 and older at diagnosis survive after five years.