It often feels like mesothelioma is a type of cancer that people only get when they’re moving toward old age or at least retirement age. It doesn’t appear to impact young people the same way. Does this mean they can’t get it?

What you’re really seeing here is the length of time it takes for the disease to develop, which is generally from 20 to 50 years after asbestos exposure. The risk is elevated for life after that exposure, but it takes decades for exposure to lead to cancer.

For example, a 25-year-old member of the military could be exposed on a warship while they’re deployed. It could then take 40 years for them to get mesothelioma, meaning they’re 65 years old when the disease finally sets in. But it’s still from that exposure decades before.

It can impact younger people

As this implies, mesothelioma can be found in younger individuals, though it is rare. There have even been teenagers who have been diagnosed. Do not assume that young people cannot have it, and be wary if a doctor will not even consider it, as that could just lead to a delayed diagnosis. It does happen.

These types of cases are just less common because the person would need to be exposed as an infant or at least as a baby. Even then, the development of the disease during the teen years is faster than the norm. Some who are exposed in childhood may still not get mesothelioma until their 30s or 40s.

If you have been diagnosed with this disease, or if a family member is battling it right now, please take the time to carefully consider your legal options.