There is No Planning For When Mesothelioma Will Strike
Just about anyone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma will attest to being “blindsided” by the disease. Caused by exposure to asbestos, mesothelioma basically sneaks up on unsuspecting victims, most often right when they are approaching their golden years.
Pleural mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused specifically by exposure to asbestos. When airborne asbestos fibers are inhaled, they become lodged in the thin membrane encasing the lungs. There, the toxic fibers lie dormant for years, even decades, until the person develops a persistent cough and experiences shortness of breath – both primary symptoms of mesothelioma.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 80 percent of mesothelioma patients are men over the age of 65. Men tend to develop the cancer more often than women due to the greater presence of men in the kinds of heavy industrial jobs such as ship building, mining and automotive repair where asbestos was prevalent.
However, recent studies have shown that more women are developing mesothelioma due to secondhand exposure from their fathers or spouses returning from work with asbestos fibers clinging to their hair and clothes. They typically inhaled the asbestos when doing laundry or playing with their father after he returned from work.
By the time these men and women have retired and begun to enjoy free time, they have pushed all thoughts of their work, perhaps 30 years prior, out of their minds. Now, they are focusing on family and travel. Unfortunately, by the time mesothelioma strikes the disease is at an advanced stage leaving the patient battling an aggressive cancer.
It is important for many older Americans to step back and take the time to assess their risk for developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease. If you were exposed to asbestos for an extended period of time, you may be at risk for developing the disease.
If you are experiencing symptoms related to mesothelioma, and you suspect you were exposed to asbestos at work or at home, it is important that you contact a medical professional immediately. Early detection of mesothelioma has been shown to positively influence a patient’s survival by increasing treatment options and improving their quality of life while battling the cancer.