Risk Factors for Malignant Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma & Asbestos | December 13, 2021

Risk factors are anything that increases a person’s chance of getting a disease. This includes cancer. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Here, we want to discuss risk factors for malignant mesothelioma, which can be deadly.


What is Malignant Mesothelioma?

According to information available from the Mayo Clinic, mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in thin tissue that covers most of our internal organs. This tissue is called the mesothelium. There is only one known cause of mesothelioma – exposure to asbestos.

Risk Factors for Contracting This Cancer

A “risk factor” is anything that increases an individual’s chance of getting a disease like cancer. Different types of cancers have different risk factors. For example, the number one risk factor for lung cancer is smoking. This type of risk factor can be changed by altering smoking habits. However, there are other types of risk factors related to cancer that cannot be changed, including family history, a person’s age, or genetics. When a person has a known risk factor, this does not necessarily mean that they will get a particular disease. In fact, you can contract cancer without having any known risk factors for the particular disease.

When it comes to malignant mesothelioma, the main risk factor is exposure to asbestos. Most cases of mesothelioma have been linked to high levels of asbestos exposure. Usually, this exposure to asbestos occurs in a person’s workplace.

Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally in tiny fiber bundles. These fibers are found in rocks and soil in various parts of the world. Asbestos use, particularly in the United States, began in the 1850s. Initially, asbestos was used for insulation around steam pipes, turbines, ovens, and other high-temperature products. Asbestos insulation was one of the largest forms of asbestos exposure in workers throughout the 1900s.

Bans on the use of asbestos did not appear until the 1970s, even though the negative health effects related to asbestos were being discussed in medical journals as early as the 1930s.

Most individuals are exposed to low levels of naturally occurring asbestos in outdoor air. Asbestos is found naturally in rocks and soil, and this type of exposure will more likely occur in areas where there are rocks that have high asbestos content. Typically, most individuals do not experience risk factors high enough to have to worry about contracting mesothelioma.

However, millions of Americans have already been exposed to high levels of asbestos. Those who have the most risk of developing mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure include individuals who worked in factories, mines, with insulation, on railroads, automotive industry, shipbuilding industry, plumbers, and construction workers. Typically, mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure does not appear until a decade or more after initial exposure.

The risk of developing mesothelioma is related to how much asbestos a person is exposed to and for how long their exposure lasts. Individuals exposed at an early age and for longer periods of time, and at higher levels, are more likely to develop mesothelioma.

Other risk factors associated with developing mesothelioma include having radiation treatments in the past and an individual’s genetics.

You Need to Call an Attorney Today

If you have contracted mesothelioma, you may be able to recover compensation. We encourage you to contact a Chicago mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can examine the facts of your case and help you determine the best steps moving forward towards recovering compensation for your losses.

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