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Why Are Their Rising Cases of Mesothelioma in Women?

Recently, there has been an alarming rise in mesothelioma cases among the female population. While the majority of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma are still men, the rate of women with mesothelioma has steadily increased year after year. Researchers have linked this trend to an increase in secondary or indirect exposure from female patients’ male spouses or relatives.

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a terminal type of cancer caused mainly by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral with carcinogenic properties, meaning that it is cancerous to humans. Unfortunately, asbestos is found in millions of buildings, building materials and consumer products in the U.S. today due to manufacturers being unaware of the danger of asbestos until the late 1900s. Asbestos exposure remains a risk to many people.

Mesothelioma currently has no known cure. Someone who is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma may have a few months to more than 10 years to live after the date of diagnosis, depending on the type of mesothelioma, the stage at the time of diagnosis and the patient’s reaction to treatments. Mesothelioma can be found in the tissues that line the lungs, heart, abdomen and testicles. Exposure to asbestos can also cause other diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer and ovarian cancer.

What Causes Mesothelioma in Women? Why Are the Numbers Increasing?

Mesothelioma is diagnosed in men much more often than in women. Statistics show that about 80 percent of mesothelioma diagnoses are men. Men are 4.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma than women. This is because men are exposed to asbestos more often than women, especially in the workplace. Occupations that come with the risk of exposure include construction, heating and air, electricity, automotive, and shipbuilding.

Lately, however, there has been a steady increase in the number of women who are diagnosed with mesothelioma. The numbers are rising due to an increase in secondary exposure to asbestos. Asbestos fibers or dust can cling to the clothing, backpacks, tools, skin or hair of male workers in high-risk occupations. Then, they are carried into a vehicle or home, putting others in the home at risk. In this way, women who are married or living with men who work in industries that expose them to asbestos are also at risk of developing mesothelioma through secondhand or indirect exposure.

How Can You Protect Yourself From Secondary Asbestos Exposure?

The first step in preventing mesothelioma is being aware of this disease and its common causes. The more you know about mesothelioma and asbestos exposure, the better you will be able to protect yourself and your family. The second step is identifying if you are an at-risk person. Ask yourself if someone in your life, such as your spouse or adult child, works in an industry that may put him or her at risk of asbestos exposure.

Your loved one may be able to decrease their own risk of exposure by communicating with their employer about asbestos safety protocols in the workplace. Employers in the U.S. must obey state and federal safety laws for protecting their employees from asbestos and reducing the risk of mesothelioma. Improving the safety of your family member’s workplace will in turn help you avoid secondhand asbestos exposure at home.

If you are at risk, protect yourself by making your spouse or loved one take certain steps before entering the home, such as using coveralls and special shoes at work and removing them outside before entering the house. You can also hire a professional to inspect your home or vehicle for traces of asbestos, as well as to remove any asbestos in your environment in a safe and lawful manner.

If you have already been diagnosed with mesothelioma in New York, contact an attorney to discuss your legal options. You may be eligible for financial compensation.

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