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What is the latency period of mesothelioma?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2023 | Mesothelioma |

The risk of developing mesothelioma is a looming concern for individuals exposed to asbestos. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that primarily affects the lining of organs like the lungs, abdomen or heart. 

What many people don’t realize is that there is a significant delay between asbestos exposure and the manifestation of mesothelioma symptoms. This is known as the latency period, and it is a crucial aspect to understand, especially when considering legal options for compensation.

It may be years before mesothelioma symptoms appear

The time between exposure and the development of mesothelioma (the latency period) can span several decades. In some cases, it can take up to 70 years for symptoms to appear. The time varies across individuals, although these factors below can affect the latency period.

  • Age at first exposure: People exposed to asbestos at a younger age generally have a shorter latency period.
  • Sex: Women tend to have a more extended latency period than men.
  • Type of asbestos exposure: The latency period of mesothelioma is generally shorter for individuals directly exposed to asbestos than those exposed indirectly through contact with asbestos workers’ contaminated clothing or by living near asbestos mines.
  • Amount of asbestos exposure: People exposed to more asbestos are more likely to develop mesothelioma after a shorter latency period.
  • Genetic factors and individual susceptibility to mesothelioma also matter.

The prolonged latency period of mesothelioma is among the primary reasons the disease is often diagnosed in its advanced stages, making it challenging to treat.

Understand your legal rights

The lengthy latency period of mesothelioma doesn’t diminish your right to seek justice. You may still be entitled to compensation even if many years have passed since your asbestos exposure. 

Seeking qualified guidance and representation can help you navigate the legal complexities of seeking compensation by identifying the potentially liable parties, gathering relevant evidence and building a solid case on your behalf.