Many asbestos occupations like auto mechanics, construction workers and oil refinery workers were made up of predominantly male employees. For this reason, a large portion of patients who are diagnosed with mesothelioma are often men. However, that trend is changing and the proportion of women who are diagnosed with mesothelioma is growing every day.
You may be wondering, how can this be? How are women being exposed to asbestos if they’re not working in the occupations that so often exposed individuals to the deadly toxin? Much of the answer lies in take-home exposure.
For instance, a person working in an asbestos occupation like factory work, auto repair or others may get asbestos dust on their clothing while on the job. When they go home, that asbestos dust could come off their clothing, go into the air and be inhaled by anyone in the home, including women and children. Several of our clients were exposed to asbestos because they shook the dust off their husband’s work clothes before putting them in the washing machine, linking mesothelioma and women. Inhalation of asbestos fibers is the direct cause of mesothelioma – a rare lung cancer with no cure.
“This type of diagnosis is devastating,” said Dr. Lee Krug, the deputy chief of Thoracic Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a mesothelioma specialist, in a NY Daily News article. “The key is really to encourage people’s awareness and encourage them to help support research. And hopefully we’ll find some better treatments.”
Mesothelioma and Women: The Risk
Even though the connection between mesothelioma and women is growing, there are things you can do to prevent the asbestos exposure that causes this rare lung disease. For instance, if a family member worked in an asbestos occupation, be on the lookout for any early warning signs of mesothelioma. Do not avoid seeing a doctor if you experience any of these mesothelioma symptoms.
Additionally, be careful when conducting any kind of building renovations. If you’re renovating your home and it is older than 30 years old, be aware that asbestos could be lurking in various building materials like floor tiles, decorative paint, insulation and drywall. Seek a certified asbestos professional if you think you might come in contact with the substance.
The best prevention method for mesothelioma is education. Be aware of the locations and products that may contain asbestos. And whatever you do, never disturb something that contains asbestos. Releasing the particles into the air is when the toxin poses the biggest health threat. It is not known how much asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, so remember: any level of exposure is considered dangerous.