Stephen underwent multiple surgeries in combination with radiation and chemotherapy. After experiencing severe chemotherapy side effects, Stephen used medical marijuana. He credited the drug for its medicinal effects and for helping him stay positive throughout his treatment.
Despite his initial mesothelioma prognosis, Stephen lived 20 years after his diagnosis. He died in 2002 of lung cancer unrelated to mesothelioma.
Louise “Lou” Williams: 15-Year Peritoneal and Pleural Mesothelioma Survivor
Louise “Lou” Williams was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2003. Lou’s diagnosis came after eight years of unexplained chronic fatigue and one year and a half of misdiagnoses. Her treatment consisted of surgical removal of the tumors and 18 sessions of chemotherapy.
Lou initially overcame peritoneal mesothelioma but was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2009. Her pleural mesothelioma treatment involved three aggressive surgeries and chemotherapy.
Despite being told she had no more options in January of 2015, she insisted on continuing her fight.
She underwent a 14-day course of radiation followed by Keytruda®. At the time, Keytruda® was a new immunotherapy drug that had shown promise in clinical trials. Throughout her treatment, Lou advocated for the accessibility of new immunotherapy drugs and worked towards a global asbestos ban.
Lou sadly passed away on April 18, 2017, after surviving mesothelioma for nearly 15 years. Lou was a fierce advocate, educator and supporter of those affected by asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.
Emanuel Costa: 4.5-Year Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survivor
After undergoing chemotherapy, Emanuel’s doctors recommended debulking surgery. Following a period of recovery, he again underwent chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments to stop the cancer’s spread.
Although his cancer continued to spread, Emanuel outlived his initial prognosis of six months. He survived four-and-a-half years with the disease.
Emanuel is remembered by his wife, Gina Martucci, and their two children. Emmanuel’s daughter Sarah remembers his strength and perseverance during his cancer journey. The family continues to honor Emanuel’s memory by advocating for mesothelioma cancer research.
03. Improving Mesothelioma Survival
How Treatment Is Improving Mesothelioma Survival
Advancements in treatment techniques and diagnostic tools have increased mesothelioma survival rates. Improved diagnostic tools have helped doctors detect mesothelioma early in some cases. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to improving mesothelioma life expectancy.
Researchers continue to test the efficacy of new treatments and combinations. The chemotherapy technique HIPEC has seen recent success. In one study, researchers found peritoneal mesothelioma patients treated with HIPEC following surgery had a 5-year survival rate of 52%.
Some new experimental treatments in clinical trials have also been successful. Clinical trials testing immunotherapy, gene therapy and other new treatments have extended survival for some patients.
Mesothelioma patients who pursue treatment may be more likely to improve long-term survival than those who forgo treatment. However, life expectancy can vary based on cancer type, stage and a patient’s health.