Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer most commonly diagnosed in older, male military service members and blue-collar workers who were exposed to asbestos. However, the disease has become increasingly common in women, who now comprise nearly one-quarter of all mesothelioma diagnoses. The Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database shows this cancer affects over 3,000 people in the U.S. every year. The data also shows that incidence rates have increased by 8 percent in women when compared to their male counterparts. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports mesothelioma deaths have increased 2 percent since 2011. It is now more important than ever for women to know the signs and symptoms of this deadly cancer.
The primary cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a substance used heavily in industrial and manufacturing products before health concerns and litigation sparked regulatory action. Asbestos, possessing fire-resistant properties, was added to cement, drywall, tile floor adhesive, and even insulation. It was commonly added to brake and clutch pads for military tanks and jeeps and used as insulation in U.S. Navy boiler rooms, which would later have an effect on many veterans.
Although widely utilized and versatile, asbestos is also highly toxic when its microscopic fibers are ingested or inhaled. Asbestos fibers are released into the air when the material is worn down, cut, or disturbed. Once disturbed, the microscopic fibers can penetrate ventilation and water systems, exposing many people to harm. Construction workers were often at great risk of exposure as construction sites were laden with asbestos-infused materials. Asbestos was also commonly utilized in schools and office buildings.
Prior to the 1970s, little was known about the dangers of asbestos. As it can take anywhere from 20-50 years for symptoms to appear in victims, few were concerned about the health effects at the time asbestos was in heavy use. Serious health complications such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other forms of asbestos-related lung cancer are caused by asbestos inhalation.
Consistent and substantial exposure to asbestos is the greatest risk factor for mesothelioma; however no amount of asbestos inhalation is safe. Recent reports have highlighted the risks associated with secondary exposure, in which asbestos fibers are brought home on clothing and hair, thus jeopardizing others in the home. Recent SEER data shows that an increasing number of younger women are being diagnosed with mesothelioma and asbestosis, suggesting that they may have contracted the disease via secondhand exposure.
Since 2011, a great many women have been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, which indicates that asbestos fibers may have been ingested. When swallowed, the fibers become lodged in the digestive system, which can later form malignant tumors that press on organs. Because this type of cancer is so rare, many doctors do not know how to properly diagnose it, prolonging suffering in victims.
Women experiencing hardship from asbestos related diseases may be entitled to compensation. Victims and their families are urged to speak to an experienced and reputable asbestos lawyer who can advise them of their rights and legal options under mesothelioma law.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a preventable injury or disease, contact Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. today. Our dedicated Wilmington asbestos lawyers have years of experience dealing with complicated mesothelioma litigation and personal injury matters. Our offices are conveniently located in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware to serve those upstate and downstate, including those in Dover, Delaware. Call a Wilmington mesothelioma lawyer at 302-656-5445 today to schedule a free consultation or contact us online.