3 Cancers with the Lowest Survival Rates
A cancer diagnosis does not need to be a death sentence. Modern medicine has many tools at its disposal for treating cancer including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
But even with all these treatment options, some forms of cancer have very low survival rates. Here are three of the worst forms of cancer:
Mesothelioma has the lowest survival rate of any cancer at approximately 10%. The low survival rate is due to a few factors:
- Mesothelioma begins with many tiny tumors in the mesothelium. Even if it is detected early, surgery is impossible because a physician cannot remove all the tiny tumors. The best option if caught early is radiation treatment and chemotherapy.
- Mesothelioma is usually not caught early. Mesothelioma usually causes symptoms like coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath. But these symptoms appear late in the progression of the disease. As a result, most cases are not diagnosed until late in their progression.
- Mesothelioma tumors grow together into a single large tumor. By the time mesothelioma is discovered, the tiny tumors have grown together into a large tumor that is impossible to remove surgically.
Mesothelioma can be treated with radiation and chemotherapy. Fortunately, since mesothelioma is almost always caused by asbestos exposure, many patients are entitled to mesothelioma settlements. These settlements help patients find closure, pay for treatment, and leave something for their heirs.
The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is also between 7% and 10%. The reason the survival rate is so low is that most cases of pancreatic cancer are not diagnosed until after the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Even when the tumor is confined to the pancreas and can be removed, the five-year survival rate is still only 20% to 35%.
Tumor size also influences survival rates. If a tumor can be removed, larger tumors mean that more of the pancreas is lost. This radically reduces the odds of recovering after surgery.
Brain cancer encompasses many types of tumors and cancers. The overall brain cancer survival rate is around 33% but some brain cancers such as glioblastoma (7%) and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) (<1%) have much lower survival rates.
The difficulty with brain cancer is that many tumors cannot be removed without killing or causing serious disability to the patient. As a result, these cancers can only be treated with chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Aggressive cancers can require radical treatment. But some cancers simply cannot be treated. When dealing with these cancers, patients will sometimes need to look for closure and ensure they can approach the end the way they want to.