The chances of asbestos-related illnesses became apparent after several years of its usage across industries. Especially when many employees were diagnosed with mesothelioma, an uncommon cancer at the time, decades later.
However, according to several research studies, male workers are not the only group at risk. According to the National Cancer Institute, women have been experiencing an increase in mesothelioma cases over the years. To be exact, 927,910 new cases in women have been diagnosed already in 2021.
Why mostly men?
For decades, mesothelioma was largely identified as a disease affecting men because it was primarily men who were diagnosed with this occupational disease. In certain industries and positions with a higher risk of asbestos exposure, men have made up the majority of the labor force.
Why are we seeing women with mesothelioma now?
Researchers say that there are the major contributing factors to the rise of mesothelioma in women:
- Secondary exposure: Men who carry microscopic asbestos fibers home to their wives and children on their clothing, hair and skin.
- Latency period: Women are frequently unaware of having mesothelioma because of its ten-to-fifty-year average latency period. The extremely long latency period has delayed the detection of mesothelioma in both men and women.
- Misdiagnosis: Because mesothelioma often has vague symptoms, the cancer is often misdiagnosed or undetected. Even when a woman exhibits symptoms and indicators of mesothelioma, physicians continue to misdiagnose cancer due to its history of predominately being found in men.
Many factors are causing a rise in mesothelioma cases in women, but the above are the three most common reasons.
If struggling with the effects of mesothelioma, it can be helpful to have professional guidance that is experienced in successfully handling these complex cases here in Louisiana.