Why does mesothelioma usually affect older individuals?

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2023 | mesothelioma

It is possible to develop mesothelioma at a young age. However, older individuals make up the bulk of mesothelioma cases. For instance, someone may work in a shipyard for their entire career, retire at 65 and then be diagnosed with mesothelioma in their 70s. Why is it that the disease seems to target older individuals?

There’s often a long delay between exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma itself. The asbestos particles that get trapped within a person’s tissues can lead to the development of cancer, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen quickly. The use of asbestos has largely been prohibited now in many modern industries. Patients may simply have been exposed on the job before these new regulations were put in place

A person may not even realize they have been exposed and may think they are healthy for decades, when the reality is that they were exposed long ago and their mesothelioma is developing very, very slowly. The American Cancer Society states that: “The time between the first asbestos exposure and diagnosis of mesothelioma is usually between 20 and 50 years.”

How can this diagnostic delay complicate the “legal side” of things?

A diagnostic delay can make a patient’s legal situation more complicated. Any records or evidence of exposure are going to be very important when seeking compensation. Individuals at a higher risk of exposure, such as those who worked in shipyards, construction workers, renovation teams, plumbers, automotive workers, railroad employees and factory workers, may be able to connect the development of their condition with their former employment but identifying one’s cause of exposure isn’t always straightforward because it often occurred decades before a patient has become ill.

Your legal situation can quickly become complex if you have developed this disease and are seeking a form of compensation to deal with the related costs. Make sure that you are well aware of all of the legal options at your disposal by seeking legal guidance proactively, as making this effort can potentially help to fund your treatment, lost wages and other losses related to your condition.