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Survival statistics for mesothelioma

Survival statistics for mesothelioma are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for mesothelioma and what they mean to you.

Relative survival

Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who do not have cancer, but who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex).

In Canada, a 5-year relative survival statistic is reported for mesothelioma. The 5-year relative survival for mesothelioma is 7%. This means that, on average, people diagnosed with mesothelioma are 7% as likely to live 5 years after their diagnosis as people in the general population.

Survival by location and stage of mesothelioma

Survival varies with each location, stage and particular cell subtype of mesothelioma. Generally, mesothelioma is associated with a poor prognosis. The following factors can also affect survival for mesothelioma.

  • Often mesothelioma is not found until it is at an advanced stage, which makes it more difficult to treat. Usually only a small number of people are diagnosed with early stage mesothelioma.
  • Malignant mesothelioma is usually an aggressive disease.
  • Sarcomatoid type mesothelioma can be resistant to cancer treatment. People with epithelioid mesothelioma often have longer survival rates.
  • Pericardial mesothelioma is usually associated with a poor prognosis.

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for mesothelioma. The following information comes from a variety of sources and may include statistics from other countries.

Median survival is the period of time (usually months or years) at which half of the people with cancer are still alive. The other half will live less than this amount of time.Survival statistics for mesothelioma are reported as median survival below.

Mesothelioma survival
Location of mesotheliomaApproximate median survival


4–18 months


5–12 months


6 months

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23 months

Questions about survival

People with cancer should talk to their doctor about their prognosis. Prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • a person’s medical history
  • type of cancer
  • stage
  • characteristics of the cancer
  • treatments chosen
  • response to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.


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