Even though the chances of getting mesothelioma have declined over the past decades, the danger still exists. This form of cancer is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers, which adversely affect the lungs, abdomen or heart. Although the use of asbestos is heavily regulated, it is not completely banned in this country.
There are four kinds of mesothelioma: The most common is Pleural, which develops in the lining of the lungs. This accounts for 75 percent of all cases. Peritoneal is the second most predominant type, causing 10 percent of all cases. Pericardial (heart lining) and testicular mesothelioma are both very rare, but cases have been reported.
Therefore, everyone who may be exposed to it – and even those who are not – should be well educated about handling asbestos and the diseases it can cause. Being aware of and preventing contact with asbestos is imperative. A certified asbestos removal expert should always be consulted before attempting to handle asbestos.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) approximates that individuals have a 0.04 percent chance of developing mesothelioma, and research shows that 20 million or more people could potentially be diagnosed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there are around 2,600 new cases in the United States every year.
Mesothelioma takes a long time to develop, and once diagnosed, patients have been known to survive from only 12 to 21 months. These numbers have gotten better recently, due to improved treatments and clinical trials.
Though there is a slight improvement in these survival rates, the general mortality rate for malignant mesothelioma has stayed pretty steady; between 1999 and 2015, there were 45,009 recorded mesothelioma deaths. This translates to around 2,500 per year.
Since mesothelioma has a long latency period, it is more frequently diagnosed in older people. Statistics show that the average age for this is 74. One of the main causes is occupational exposure; construction workers, mechanics, shipyard employees, plant workers, and firefighters are more likely to be exposed to asbestos.
However, individuals that are renovating older homes can also put themselves at risk. Mesothelioma is also more likely to occur in males than females; 75% of mesothelioma deaths are seen in men. This may be related to the fact that industries like construction have been traditionally male-dominated.
Additional risk factors include genetics, poor health, smoking, and longer periods of asbestos exposure. These all may increase the likelihood of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Recent statistics show that Pennsylvania is ranked third in the country for asbestos-related disease mortality rates. Even though researchers discovered the health risks of asbestos close to 100 years ago, its past use left large amounts of waste in the state.
Mesothelioma symptoms can take up to 50 years to develop, which makes it hard to diagnose, treat, and obtain medical care. If you have mesothelioma, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call the Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler at 215-569-4000 or contact us online for an initial consultation.