Mesothelioma is often thought of as a male disease since the majority of people who develop it are men. Yet, women are just as susceptible to asbestos and can develop mesothelioma just as men do, although they are usually exposed to asbestos in different ways.
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Second-hand Asbestos Exposure
Many women have developed mesothelioma after ingesting asbestos fibers second-hand, via their spouse or other loved ones who worked around asbestos on job sites.
In the past, numerous job sites failed to offer workers protective gear while working around asbestos, nor did they offer on-site showers.
In turn, workers would return to their family home with asbestos fibers in their hair, on their skin, and on their clothing.
Most workers were unaware of the dangers they were bringing into the home as numerous asbestos manufacturers kept information on the hazards of asbestos hidden.
Second-hand exposure to asbestos remains one of the top reasons that women develop mesothelioma.
In fact, a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates that almost half of all women’s pleural mesothelioma cases stemmed from second-hand exposure via relatives.
Most men who were exposed to asbestos worked at job sites that entailed industrial, blue collar type work, including working in factories, construction jobs, plants, shipyards, insulation work, and more.
Women who were exposed to asbestos at work, however, often worked clerical jobs in buildings made with asbestos materials or as teachers in schools made with asbestos materials.
Women are also at risk of asbestos exposure if they worked in:
- Government buildings
Some women were also exposed to asbestos at the same job sites at men. During the nation’s major wars, many women worked in shipyards and factories.
Men and women alike are susceptible to environmental exposure to asbestos if they live near naturally-occurring asbestos. According to the Agency for Toxic Substance & Diseases Registry (ATSDR), naturally-occurring asbestos isn’t dangerous unless it’s disturbed.
Naturally-occurring asbestos is found in the East, Southeast, Midwest, and West Coast areas of the United States. The most concentrated areas of naturally-occurring asbestos are California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
Survival Rates for Women with Mesothelioma
Studies indicate that women diagnosed with mesothelioma generally have a longer survival rate when compared to men.
For instance, women who undergo surgery have an average survival rate of a little over a year after treatment, whereas men who undergo surgery typically have a survival rate of around 16 months.
The type of mesothelioma, however, will affect survival rates as well. Women with epithelial tumors generally survive longer than women with nonepithelial tumors.
Epithelial tumors have consistent patterns, whereas nonepithelial tumors have inconsistent, random patterns, and although patients may receive the same type of treatment, those with epithelial tumors generally live much longer.
NIH states that most women diagnosed with mesothelioma have the epithelioid subtype.
How Can Women Prove Negligence for Second-Hand Exposure
Second-hand exposure is one of the primary ways that women develop mesothelioma. However, proving negligence can get a bit tricky.
Since most women who developed asbestos via second-hand exposure didn’t work at the job sites, they are ineligible for workers’ compensation. In addition, proving a second-hand exposure case can be difficult and met with many obstacles.
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos via second-hand and you were diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, it’s important to retain the services of an experienced mesothelioma lawyer who can help you understand the legal process and what you may be entitled to.
In recent years, more and more women are winning mesothelioma lawsuits for second-hand asbestos exposure, holding the manufacturing companies liable.
Additional Information and Helpful Resources
Remember to fill out our form to get your free Financial Compensation Packet, with information on knowledgeable asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers in your area. If you have questions or need assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.
Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney Paul Danziger
Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.