Mesothelioma is one of the most serious and deadly forms of cancer that someone can be diagnosed with. Life expectancy is often just a year or two after diagnosis. In most cases, the condition will form in the lining of victims’ lungs, although it is regularly found in the lining of the abdomen as well. Fortunately, it is one of the rarest forms of cancer, making up less than 0.2% of diagnoses.
However, the rarity of the cancer reveals a strong connection between asbestos exposure and later diagnosis of mesothelioma. Given the common role that asbestos used to play in many industries, many workers are diagnosed with mesothelioma after asbestos exposure.
How Common Is Mesothelioma After Asbestos Exposure?
Speaking in broad, general terms, those who have had prolonged exposure to asbestos have an 8% to 13% chance of developing a case of mesothelioma. However, these broad numbers don’t address the total number of factors involved in these kinds of cases.
The biggest factor in developing mesothelioma from asbestos exposure is the nature of the exposure. While it is true that no level of exposure is considered safe, there are some kinds of exposure that are more likely to present an issue than others.
The cumulative duration of the exposure can be a significant factor in the likelihood of a diagnosis. The longer someone has been exposed to asbestos, both in single instances and on multiple occasions over time, the more likely they are to be diagnosed with mesothelioma. This means that how long someone worked a certain job could have an impact on their likelihood of being diagnosed.
The kind of exposure and type of asbestos are also factors in the likelihood of contracting mesothelioma. For instance, if the asbestos was airborne and could be breathed into the lungs, that would lead to an increased risk. There are also different kinds of asbestos fibers. Some are less likely to lead to cancer, such as chrysotile. Other asbestos fibers, though, such as amosite or crocidolite fibers, carry a higher risk of mesothelioma.
There are also various pre-existing conditions and lifestyle factors that can affect someone’s chances of getting mesothelioma. For instance, genetic factors or having a pre-existing lung condition could increase the risk. Similarly, smoking and other unhealthy lifestyle choices could increase the chances of getting mesothelioma as well.
How Long After Exposure Is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
Symptoms of mesothelioma from asbestos exposure can take a long time to emerge. The tumors will often grow and spread before the symptoms start to emerge. The cancer is most often diagnosed when it’s already in a later stage. In most cases, this means that symptoms won’t show up, and mesothelioma won’t be identified for 20 to 60 years after the original exposure.
Therefore, the primary category of at-risk people is men over 65 with a background in an industry that involves products made of asbestos. In particular, those who were involved in the U.S. military or blue-collar jobs in chemical refining, power generation, construction, manufacturing, and similar industries are at risk of developing the condition. It’s also possible that second-hand exposure to asbestos could lead family members to have an increased risk of mesothelioma.
Q: How Many People Are Diagnosed With Mesothelioma Each Year?
A: Mesothelioma is one of the rarer forms of cancer diagnosed in the United States. It’s also typically diagnosed when the condition is already in its later stages. Currently, there are around 3,000 to 3,500 cases that are diagnosed each year. This number may start dropping, though, as exposure to asbestos has been significantly reduced.
Q: What Are Common Places Where Asbestos Is Found?
A: Asbestos was used in a wide variety of materials, products, and industries because of several of its properties. It is generally a very durable, insulating, and heat-resistant material. This is why it was heavily used in construction materials like insulation, cement, plaster, coatings, flooring, and more.
It was also regularly used in industrial processes such as shipbuilding, chemical plants, and power plants. Even some household appliances once used asbestos as a form of insulation. Today, it’s been phased out in many different areas; however, in some older buildings, there may still be many materials containing asbestos.
Q: Is Mesothelioma Curable?
A: Generally, mesothelioma is not currently curable. This is because the symptoms tend to emerge after the cancer has already started to spread. Dealing with late-stage cancers is always challenging, as they are rarely curable. Since mesothelioma is normally already late-stage when identified, the prognosis is usually not hopeful.
That said, there are advancements in new therapies that look promising. As with all types of cancer, there is always the possibility that new treatments could be developed at any time. Additionally, there are advancements in early screening that may be able to identify mesothelioma in a more treatable form.
Q: What Can Be Done if You Get Mesothelioma From Asbestos Exposure at Work?
A: If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and worked in an industry with regular or significant asbestos exposure, there may be options available to ensure your medical costs and other costs are covered. This is usually done through a workers’ compensation claim, but there may be other options available. A quality lawyer will be able to look at your case and describe all the options that may be available to you.
If You’ve Gotten Mesothelioma From Asbestos Exposure, We Can Help You Get Compensation
We understand how scary a mesothelioma diagnosis is for victims and their families. Physical and psychological costs are often the greatest, but there is a significant financial cost involved. Luckily, financial concerns can be addressed by naming another party liable for the asbestos exposure that led to the condition.
In most cases, an employer is liable, and workers’ compensation can be the path to receiving the compensation you deserve. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, M. Reid Acree Jr., Attorney at Law, can help you obtain compensation. Contact us for help with your Mesothelioma diagnosis.