The risk for mesothelioma often comes from someone’s employment. Given that it takes decades for mesothelioma to develop, those currently coping with a diagnosis may have worked long before sex/gender parity in the workplace was common.
Historically, many men have developed and gotten diagnosed with mesothelioma, while women have represented a minority of the patients with this deadly cancer of the organ linings. However, according to reports analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a woman’s risk for diagnosis with mesothelioma has increased by a significant amount in recent years.
Despite reductions in workplaces using asbestos and an increase in protective gear in industries that still handle this substance, women are more likely now than they were years ago to get diagnosed with mesothelioma and then die from this devastating form of cancer.
What does the CDC data show?
Several decades ago, there were not very many women in industrial workplace settings, so the big gap between the male and female diagnosis rates for mesothelioma seems to make sense. Still, when you look at mortality rates in recent years, you will see that more women have started to die of mesothelioma in the most recent decades.
From 1999 to 2020, the CDC found a roughly 25% increase in the number of mesothelioma fatalities in women. While you might think that most of the women diagnosed with mesothelioma worked in an industrial setting, homemakers were actually the most highly-represented demographic among women who died of mesothelioma. These women may have had secondhand exposure because of their spouse’s employment or because of environmental asbestos in their community.
Workers and their families need to watch carefully after asbestos exposure
If you worked in an industrial setting where you sometimes handled asbestos or if a member of your family had an asbestos-related job, you need to monitor yourself carefully for the warning signs of mesothelioma, which often starts with body pain and other generic symptoms.
The average individual survives barely a year after diagnosis. The sooner you catch this devastating form of cancer, the better your chances of longer survival and a higher quality of life. Recognizing that mesothelioma has become an increasing concern for women to help you and your family stay safer after workplace exposure.