The news hit you and your family like a freight train. Your physician diagnoses you with mesothelioma, the rare and aggressive form of cancer caused by regular exposure to asbestos. It was an illness years in the making, and one that will likely soon take your life.
During those years working in the shipyards, you knew your sweat and grit would provide for your family. Now, you are angry that your life will be shortened by a preventable cause. “How long will I live?” you ask yourself. You want to know because you have so many things to do between now and then, namely you need the time to prepare your estate.
A high early mortality rate
You are one of the roughly 3,000 U.S. residents who annually are diagnosed with mesothelioma. And, each year, nearly as many die from this disease that brings weight loss, fatigue, pain, depression and anxiety. You got this type of cancer by breathing in asbestos fibers that settled in your lungs and even stomach. Mesothelioma occurs in the thin tissue layers that surround your internal organs.
According to a 2017 study by the Life Expectancy Project, there is a high early mortality rate among people diagnosed with mesothelioma. In its research of men aged 50 to 79 who had pleural mesothelioma (the type that surrounds the tissue around the lungs), the organization found that:
- 46% of the men survived a year after a mesothelioma diagnosis (54% died in the first year.)
- 22% lived for two years after diagnosis (only 48% of those who survived for a year continued to live.)
- 7% continued to live five years after diagnosis (Only 32% of those who survived two years lived to five years.)
A number of factors come into play regarding the life expectancy of someone diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. They include the location of the disease, whether there was an early diagnosis, overall health of the patient along with types of treatment. The prognosis is more favorable to someone diagnosed early and in good health compared with someone diagnosed in the later stages.
In the coming months, you have a number of things you need to do. Create or update your estate plan and consider taking legal action against your employer. After all, you want to continue to provide for your surviving family members somehow.