The cause of malignant mesothelioma has long been known: the rare and fatal form of cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos. But few studies have specifically looked at women diagnosed with the condition, and where their exposure came from. Now a study published in the American Journal of Surgical Pathology has demonstrated that most women with the disease had a history of household exposure to a person who worked in an industry in which the carcinogenic material was used.
Study Shines A Light on Women’s Mesothelioma
Because mesothelioma has long been associated with occupational exposure – and specifically exposure that took place in male-dominated industries – few researchers have focused on the source of female patients’ asbestos exposure. But this new study is among the first to establish a link between women’s illness and physical evidence of asbestos exposure.
The study looked at nearly 3,000 people diagnosed with mesothelioma between 1983 and 2010, 12.4$ of whom were women. The vast majority were diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, with only 22% of the 354 identified women diagnosed with the peritoneal form of the disease. Patients’ median age at diagnosis was 60, with those diagnosed with pleural disease aged 65 and those with peritoneal disease 52. Median survival time for those with pleural mesothelioma was just 12.8 months while those with peritoneal disease had a median survival of 15 months.
Study Makes Notable Revelation of Asbestos Exposure History in Women With Mesothelioma
The study revealed that 62% of the women diagnosed with mesothelioma had a household contact who worked in an industry or occupation associated with asbestos, with the authors noting, “Women whose exposure began in childhood through asbestos brought into the home on their father’s clothing tended to be in their 30s and 40s at the time of diagnosis, whereas women whose exposure was through their husbands tended to be in their 50s and 60s.”
If you are a woman diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, knowing where your asbestos exposure arose from is an important part of your path forward. For more information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.