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Why Does Mesothelioma Impact the Elderly so Often?

Nichol & Associates, Attorneys at Law April 12, 2022

You can find cases of young people being diagnosed with mesothelioma, but they are fairly rare. As a general rule, the individuals who develop this disease tend to be senior citizens or at least those who are at a more advanced stage in life.

In fact, this is one of the reasons that mesothelioma is so often a fatal disease. Those who are coming down with it are already at this advanced age and may have other health complications or may simply not have the strength and time to recover from the disease.

But why is it that the elderly seem to be impacted at such a disproportionate rate?

The Latency Period

First and foremost, you have to consider the latency period. When this was studied by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, they found that there was often more than two decades between exposure to Asbestos and mesothelioma. There are also cases where people have developed mesothelioma three or four decades after that exposure.

This is an incredibly high latency period, and it means that people can come down with the disease even if they didn’t realize that they were exposed to asbestos twenty or thirty years ago. It can come as something of a surprise because it just didn’t happen very recently.

Because of this, the location of that exposure also plays a serious role. Someone who is exposed in their own home may develop mesothelioma at a younger age because they could theoretically be exposed as a child. Someone who is exposed in their workplace may not even have had that experience until they were in their twenties or thirties, so they’re not going to develop mesothelioma until they’re much closer to retirement age.

What Options Do You Have?

If you or a loved one does have mesothelioma, you likely know all about how aggressive this disease can be and how you need to seek cutting-edge treatment options to fight it. At the same time, make sure that you know about all of the legal options your family may have. This can be a trying time, but there are typically significant steps that can be taken.