Mesothelioma: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 05/2016

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year. You will also learn some general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu.

It is estimated that about 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in the United States. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men. The average age for a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis is 69. 

The number of people diagnosed with mesothelioma is no longer increasing as it has been in previous decades and may now be decreasing. The average survival time is defined as the amount of time that a person can live after the cancer is found. In patients with pleural mesothelioma who are not able to receive surgery, the median survival time is 12 months. Median is the midpoint, which means that about half of people with this type of cancer live longer and about half live for a shorter time.

The length of time a person lives after being diagnosed with mesothelioma depends on many factors, including the patient’s age and the type of mesothelioma. In particular, some patients with peritoneal mesothelioma have a tumor that grows very slowly and patients with peritoneal mesothelioma often have longer survival times.

It is important to remember that statistics on how many people survive this type of cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from data based on thousands of people with this cancer in the United States each year. So, your own risk may be different. Doctors cannot say for sure how long anyone will live with mesothelioma. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. This means that the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Source: American Cancer Society.

The next section in this guide is Risk Factors. It explains what factors may increase the chance of developing this disease. Or, use the menu to choose another section to continue reading this guide.