For roughly as long as medical professionals have been able to conclusively diagnose mesothelioma, they have largely found it to be a “male disease.” It is often men who traditionally worked in blue-collar professions and, therefore, were subjected to a significant risk of exposure to asbestos for decades.
Although women certainly have developed mesothelioma, their cases have long been a small subset of the population affected by this deadly cancer that begins in the lining of the organs. However, in recent years, there has been a marked increase in the number of women diagnosed with mesothelioma.
More women have entered the workforce
Although blue-collar work still remains a largely male pursuit, many blue-collar professions have seen a slow but noticeable increase in female employees. Women in manufacturing and construction professions are among those who very well could end up exposed to asbestos on the job. Women who were among the first to work in certain industries decades ago might just now reach an age where they will have diagnosable symptoms of mesothelioma, which might help explain at least some of the increase.
It is possible that more women had mesothelioma than were diagnosed with the condition
The sad reality is that there were likely many women who developed illnesses and died without doctors ever realizing that what they had was mesothelioma. The relatively low rate of women traditionally reported as having developed mesothelioma may have affected the ability of doctors to properly diagnose other women presenting with symptoms caused by this condition. Increased awareness of the dangers of secondary or secondhand asbestos exposure may have altered how physicians diagnose female patients presenting symptoms that could be signs of mesothelioma.
Women, just like men, may be in a position to take legal action against a business that exposed employees – and their families, by extension – to asbestos. Pursuing a legal claim is often the best way for someone with mesothelioma to continue supporting themselves and accessing cutting-edge medical care.