Mesotheolioma is obviously a life-changing diagnosis, and those who receive it face various challenges. These challenges vary depending on the individual’s family, financial, and other personal circumstances, including the individual’s gender.
While the majority of mesothelioma diagnoses involve men, women are also diagnosed with the diseased and the diagnosis gap between men and women is, in fact, gradually closing. According to at least one source, one quarter of all mesothelioma cases involve women, and this number is growing.
One factor in the closing of the gender gap in mesothelioma diagnoses is secondhand asbestos exposure, which can occur when family members were exposed to a loved one’s clothes or other items that were covered in asbestos. The loved one was typically a male who worked in a job where asbestos exposure was common. Women are increasingly being diagnosed with mesothelioma in connection with secondhand asbestos exposure years after it occurred.
When women are diagnosed with mesothelioma, their experienced is different from men in several ways. First of all, women are usually diagnosed at a younger age than men. They may still have minor children to care for and may still have a career to maintain, and this makes their experience different.
Second, women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. This form of mesothelioma usually comes with a better prognosis than other forms of the disease, particularly due to emerging treatments which have proven successful. This means patients have a longer life expectancy, provided the disease is diagnosed early. If the disease is diagnosed in its later stages—and it isn’t uncommon for peritoneal mesothelioma to be misdiagnosed—the prognosis usually isn’t more favorable.
In our next post, we’ll continue looking at the issue of mesothelioma diagnosis as it affects women, and the importance of working with experienced legal counsel to seek compensation.