What is Stage 3 Mesothelioma?

Stage 3 mesothelioma occurs when cancer spreads locally, particularly to lymph nodes and deep tissue nearby. Survivors of stage 3 pleural mesothelioma could experience tumor development in the corresponding lung, nearby organs, tissues, and lymph nodes. Mesothelioma can be aggressive once the disease spreads beyond its original site, and most forms of it cannot be cured. It’s common to receive a mesothelioma diagnosis after an early stage has progressed to one of the advanced stages.

Mesothelioma is a lung disease caused by exposure to products containing asbestos. Coping with a stage 3 mesothelioma diagnosis can be incredibly difficult. If caught in the late stages, modern treatments and lifestyle adjustments can reduce symptoms and extend life expectancy. Access to experienced specialists could greatly impact understanding stage 3 mesothelioma symptoms, treatment, and life expectancy.

How Long Can You Live With Stage 3?

The median survival for stage 3 mesothelioma is between 1 and 3 years. How long you can live with stage 3 mesothelioma can depend on certain risk factors, including age, sex, overall health, and development site. Patients with certain mesothelioma types of stage 3 mesothelioma may live longer than others. Peritoneal and testicular mesothelioma survival outcomes, for example, generally exceed pleural or pericardial mesothelioma outcomes.

Stage 3 Mesothelioma Survival Rate by Age

Age can impact mesothelioma survival rates, overall health, and treatment options. Mesothelioma patients live longer on average if they are younger than 75. Younger patients tend to be in better overall health and qualify for more aggressive and costly life-extending treatments.

Age Range 5-Year Survival Rate
45-54 26.2%
55-64 17.7%
65-74 7.3%
75+ 6.4%

Source: SEER Survival Statistics

Stage 3 Symptoms

It is common for mesothelioma patients to begin noticing symptoms in the late stages of the disease. As cancer spreads, symptoms escalate and become more noticeable. Although symptoms differ among different patients, prominent symptoms of late-stage mesothelioma include:

  • Short breath
  • Lung and Chest pain
  • Pain in the abs
  • Recurring dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Pleural Effusion (Fluid buildup in chest tissue)

Mesothelimoa symptoms may worsen or become severe over time as tumors grow. They can also vary based on which organs and tissues are involved. As pleural mesothelioma tumors grow, the increase of pressure and fluid around the lungs causes breathing difficulties. Likewise, peritoneal tumors that put pressure on the abdomen could eventually cause weight loss.

How is Stage 3 Mesothelioma diagnosed?

Stage 3 mesothelioma is diagnosed using a variety of tests and methods. Typically, the diagnostic process of stage 3 mesothelioma begins when symptoms become persistent. If you find yourself experiencing chest pain or trouble breathing, your doctor will run a few tests to rule out more common issues, such as pneumonia or lung cancer.

Imaging tests used to identify tumors and diagnose mesothelioma include XRay, CAT, or PET scans. A tissue or tumor biopsy procedure to collect and study cancer cells ultimately confirms the diagnosis. Since the disease is a rarity, meso patients often seek a second opinion from a mesothelioma specialist.

Life Expectancy by Mesothelioma Type

Life expectancy is the measure of the time a cancer survivor is expected to live. Similar to stage 4 mesothelioma, the life expectancy for stage 3 ranges based on overall health, stage, and cell type. Most patients with late-stage mesothelioma live between 12 and 26 months. Some patients outlive the average life expectancy by making certain lifestyle improvements. Positive changes in diet and exercise habits help the body prepare and recover from cancer treatment. Survival statistics, however, do not predict a person’s individual prognosis as each case is different.

Pleural Life Expectancy

Pleural mesothelioma life expectancy with treatment is 12-16 months. It develops in the lining of the lungs or chest, called the pleura. Pleural mesothelioma can spread to the corresponding lung or nearby tissues and organs.

Peritoneal Life Expectancy

Peritoneal life expectancy with treatment is 18-26 months. This form of mesothelioma develops in the abdomen, and advanced tumors can spread to lymph nodes and organ lining nearby.

Pericardial Life Expectancy

Pericardial life expectancy with treatment is 6 months. Often diagnosed in late stages, pericardial mesothelioma can metastasize (spread) to the lungs or chest cavity.

Stage 3 Testicular Life Expectancy

Testicular life expectancy with treatment is 5+ years. Curative treatments for testicular mesothelioma caught early on are available, but the disease can spread beyond the inner tissue layer to lymph nodes or bone.

Stage 3 Mesothelioma Life Expectancy Without Treatment

Site Life Expectancy Without Treatment
Pleural Mesothelioma 6-12 Months
Peritoneal Mesothelioma 6-12 Months
Pericardial Mesothelioma <6 Months
Testicular Mesothelioma 24 months

Related: Stage 4 Lung Cancer Life Expectancy

Late Stage Treatment Types

Cancer that spreads into the pleural lining may or may not be removable via surgery. In the third stage, the dense mesothelioma tumors could grow into multiple layers of tissue. At this point, it’s nearly impossible to remove completely. When aggressive cancer treatment options involving surgery and chemotherapy are possible, survival rates increase. Patients not eligible for surgery may benefit from treatments that reduce or control symptoms. In both cases, however, a multi-modal treatment plan involving chemotherapy, radiation, and/or immunotherapy

Pleural Stage 3 Treatment Types

In later stages, patients typically undergo treatments to reduce pain and improve their quality of life. Treatment for stage 3 pleural mesothelioma could include less-invasive surgical procedures to remove fluid built up around the lungs, or chemotherapy and radiation to shrink tumors.

Pericardial Stage 3 Treatment Types

Pericardial mesothelioma is typically diagnosed in late stages and treatment options focus on palliative treatments to ease the pain. Less-severe cases may be treated with pericardiectomy, a procedure in which doctors remove part of the heart lining. Some patients may undergo treatments to remove fluid buildup or chemotherapy to slow the progress of tumor growth.

Peritoneal Stage 3 Treatment Types

Some peritoneal mesothelioma patients undergo surgery, called a peritonectomy, to remove tumors and alleviate pain in the abdominal lining. Candidates for this surgery may concurrently receive heated chemotherapy applied to the procedure site, called HIPEC.

Testicular Stage 3 Treatment Types

Patients with testicular mesothelioma often undergo a combination of treatments, including surgery to remove tumors followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation to destroy remaining cancer cells. Testicular mesothelioma patients often experience better outcomes than patients with pleural or pericardial mesothelioma.

Is Mesothelioma at This Stage Curable?

There is no cure for stage 3 mesothelioma or any stage of the disease. Treatment for late-stage mesothelioma focuses on measures to reduce symptoms. In some cases, patients with mesothelioma are eligible for life-extending surgery. With the right treatment, survival is possible. Reach out to Lung Cancer Center if you or someone you know needs more assistance.


Mesothelioma Site 2-Year Survival Rate With Treatment
Pleural 20-25%
Peritoneal 30-50%
Pericardial 20%
Testicular >75%

Related News Article: Is Stage 3 Lung Cancer Curable?