It’s long been established that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. While the incidence rate has been decreasing slowly in the United States, Americans continue to be diagnosed with the deadly cancer at the rate of nearly 3,000 cases per year.
Gender Experiences Are Different
Men and women seem to be affected at different rates, mainly because men have been exposed to asbestos while working in occupations that have historically not been open to women. Mesothelioma diagnoses among women have nearly doubled since the early 1990s while rates among men have increased about half as much, according to a Mesothelioma UK study.
As more and more women join the ranks of auto mechanics, electricians, plasterers, welders, and the like, their exposure to asbestos has increased. Women continue to be exposed in places like hospitals, offices and schools where asbestos was, and often still is, in the fabric of the buildings. They are also exposed through contaminated talcum powder found in cosmetics and body powder.
The Mesothelioma UK study revealed that women (and younger men) are less likely to be aware of the risks associated with asbestos exposure. They also have been less likely to have a clear occupational link to asbestos exposure, which explains why they are typically not diagnosed as quickly as men.
Once diagnosed, women may be less likely to receive surgery or chemotherapy. “The factors contributing to this disparity remain unknown,” the study found. Despite this disparity, however, “women have been shown to have far higher survival rates even when age, stage, and race were accounted for.”
What Is Mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, which is the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of a person’s internal organs. It is a particularly aggressive and deadly form of cancer. This cancer most often affects the tissue surrounding the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), but there are rare instances of it affecting the abdominal tissues (peritoneal mesothelioma) and around the heart and testes. Treatments are available, but there is currently no cure.
Pleural mesothelioma symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Painful coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
- Unexplained weight loss
Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Unexplained weight loss
How We Help Victims of Asbestos Exposure
Seek justice with the help of our experienced asbestos attorneys. Our asbestos law firm has represented individuals like you affected by asbestos exposure for over 20 years, aggressively fighting the corporate giants responsible for their dangerous products. If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos or suffered from a disease caused by asbestos, like mesothelioma, we can help.