Mesothelioma Survivors and Life Expectancy

Though a cure for mesothelioma does not currently exist, patients continue to learn of mesothelioma survivor stories, providing hope and inspiration to those affected by mesothelioma.

The stories of mesothelioma survivors are all different. While some underwent traditional treatments, others opted to design their own healthcare regimens. What has worked for some may not have worked for others, but their stories show that hope remains for mesothelioma patients.

Why Do Some People Survive Longer?

Mesothelioma life expectancy is based on lots of factors including type of mesothelioma, size and location of tumor, age of the patient and the overall health of the patient. However, doctors remain perplexed by those who have survived for many years after a diagnosis occurs.

The one common thread they can identify, however, is the immune system. It seems that those who have battled the disease for years and continue to win have, at one time, participated in some kind of therapy that probably improved or enhanced their immune system, including clinical trials in immunotherapy and other experimental treatments. To receive a complimentary packet about improving mesothelioma life expectancy, please fill out the packet request form on this page.

Notable Mesothelioma Survivors

James Rhio O’Connor survived for nearly eight years after he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, though his doctor said he likely had less than a year to live. Not wishing to participate to traditional therapies and treatments, O’Connor devised his own treatment plan with the help of a number of professional clinicians. His regimen consisted of taking more than 100 supplements daily and eating nutritious food, including lots of fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables. He also eliminated certain items from his diet. In his book “They said Months, I Chose Years: A Mesothelioma Survivor’s Story,” O’Connor notes that a positive attitude makes all the difference. He also participated in stress-reducing alternative therapies like meditation and massage.

Another inspirational story belongs to Paul Kraus, one of the world’s longest known mesothelioma survivors. Kraus was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 1997 after 35 years of working closely with crocidolite asbestos, a particularly toxic form of the mineral. Peritoneal mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive forms of the disease and, like O’Connor, Kraus was given a poor prognosis but immediately decided that mesothelioma would not defeat him. He went about devising a protocol to address the disease. With the help of nutritionists, he changed his diet, added supplements to his daily regimen, and tried an alternative treatment known as ozone therapy, adding ozone to the body because cancer does not like an oxygenated environment, according to developers of the treatment. Kraus continues to survive. Tests still show the presence of the disease in his body and he notes he is a little weaker than he was when he was diagnosed in 1997, but he has no pain and his doctors believe his life expectancy could still consist of several more years.

A study titled “Prolonged Survival Due to Spontaneous Regression and Surgical Excision of Malignant Mesothelioma,” published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery in 2007, cites the case of a 58-year-old man who had a chest wall resection and no symptoms after that surgery. Doctors believe he had a "moderate host inflammatory response" and that “spontaneous regression may be an immune-mediated phenomenon.” Therefore, they believe his immune system played a role in the disappearance of the disease.