Most people who suffer from mesothelioma are men. That’s because it’s typically the result of regular exposure to asbestos over time. People who worked in construction, manufacturing, shipyards and auto repair used to be exposed to high levels with little, if any, protection and minimal safety protocols.
So why have mesothelioma deaths among women risen by more than 25% in recent decades? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 1999 and 2020, that’s what happened. Mesothelioma took the lives of over 12,000 women according to CDC data. Most of these women were over 55.
The answer, at least in part, lies in how these women earned a living. Almost a quarter were categorized as “homemakers.” However, 16% worked in the social services and healthcare fields, 11% worked in education and 9% worked in manufacturing.
Asbestos in older properties
Researchers hypothesized that many of the women who contracted mesothelioma lived and/or worked in properties with large amounts of asbestos. It’s well documented that asbestos used to be a serious problem in older schools.
Of course, many older homes contain asbestos. However, it’s typically not harmful unless it’s disturbed and released into the air – for example during renovation or if the property is seriously damaged. Today, there are strict protocols for working on older properties, but that didn’t use to be the case.
Another potential source of asbestos exposure is through another person. Many older women had fathers and/or husbands who brought home asbestos every night on their footwear, clothing and body back in the days before these strict safety regulations.
If there’s a possibility that you could have contracted mesothelioma through one of these scenarios, don’t let doctors rule it out as a diagnosis because you’re female. While the prognosis with a mesothelioma diagnosis still isn’t good, the earlier you’re diagnosed and begin treatment, the better off you’ll likely be.
If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, it may be wise to seek legal guidance to determine what options you may have for compensation to help cover your medical costs and other expenses.