If you look at the statistics regarding who has mesothelioma, it’s clear that this is a disease that develops more often in older people. Many of them are elderly, retired or at least adults who are beyond middle age. This isn’t a disease that often impacts younger people, although it is possible.
Why is there this discrepancy? Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos particles. Once these have been inhaled, they can become trapped in the lungs or the lining surrounding them, along with other tissues in the abdomen, and they can lead to cancer. Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance, and anyone could be exposed at any age, so why does it seem like young people don’t become symptomatic and diagnosed with this disease at greater rates?
A delay of decades
The reason for this isn’t that young people aren’t being exposed to asbestos. They are. It’s just that there is a significant delay between exposure and the onset of the disease. Experts note that it can often take between 20 and 50 years for someone to develop mesothelioma.
This is why it’s so important for young people to pay attention to the steps they can take to stay safe. Once someone has been exposed to asbestos, they will always have a higher chance of developing mesothelioma. It’s not a guarantee, but that exposure does increase their odds forever. This is true even though the ramifications of that exposure may not become apparent until a person is much older.
Age also plays into the mortality rate for this disease. It is often said to be a very dangerous and aggressive type of cancer, and this is true. But it is also more dangerous to those who get it – or more likely to be fatal – because most of these individuals are already elderly. Diseases tend to be harder for them to overcome at this stage in their life, and they may have other health complications that compound the issues caused by the condition.
Does your family have options?
Do you have an elderly loved one who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or who has been exposed to asbestos and is becoming symptomatic? If so, it’s very important for you to know what options you and your family may have moving forward. Seeking legal guidance is a good start.