Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of specific organs in the body, most commonly the lungs. In women, pleural mesothelioma is the most common type, occurring five times more frequently than peritoneal mesothelioma, which develops in the abdominal lining. Unfortunately, this type of cancer has no known cure and can be challenging to diagnose due to its long latency period.
Survival and Prognosis
Women with mesothelioma have been found to have a better prognosis than men. This is due to a number of factors, including the stage of the disease, the treatment protocol, and the overall health of the patient. Studies have shown that women tend to survive longer than men when it comes to both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma cases.
The exact reasons for this are not yet known, but researchers believe that female hormones may play a role in helping women fight off cancer cells more effectively. Additionally, women may be more likely to seek medical attention earlier on in their diagnosis, which can lead to better outcomes. It is also possible that women are less likely to be exposed to asbestos fibers due to occupational differences between genders. Regardless of the cause, it is clear that female gender can be associated with improved survival rates for mesothelioma patients.
5-Year Survival Rate for Women With Mesothelioma Versus Men
The 5-year survival rate for women with mesothelioma is significantly higher than that of men. According to the National Cancer Institute, the 5-year survival rate for women is 17.7%, while the rate for men is only 7.1%. This difference in survival rates may be due to a variety of factors, including differences in treatment options and access to care.
Why is the Prognosis Better For Women With Mesothelmioma?
Women with mesothelioma have been found to have better survival rates than men. Experts have suggested a few explanations for this phenomenon.
Women Seek Medical Care More Often
Women may also be more likely to seek medical attention earlier than men, which can lead to better outcomes. Additionally, some research suggests that women may have a higher tolerance for certain treatments than men, which could also contribute to their higher survival rates. Regardless of the cause, it is clear that women have an advantage when it comes to surviving mesothelioma. It is essential for both genders to receive prompt diagnosis and treatment in order to improve their chances of long-term survival.
Another explanation is that women tend to have tumors with more favorable characteristics than those in men. These characteristics include smaller tumor size and less spread of the cancer cells throughout the body. As a result, women may be able to receive more effective treatments and experience better outcomes than their male counterparts.
Additionally, some studies suggest that female hormones may play a role in slowing down the progression of mesothelioma in women compared to men.
Types of Mesothelioma in Women
There are a few common types of mesothelioma in women, let’s discuss them.
Pleural Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer of the pleura, which is the protective tissue covering the lungs. This type of cancer most commonly occurs in people exposed to asbestos over an extended period, usually ten years or more. Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma include:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- and coughing up blood.
Treatment options may include:
- radiation therapy
- and surgery.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Pleura Mesothelioma; however, early detection can allow for effective management and potentially improve prognosis.
Peritoneum mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive form of cancer that affects the abdomen. It develops in the peritoneal mesothelial cells which play an essential role in protecting the abdominal organs. The most common cause of this type of cancer is asbestos exposure, and it can take up to fifty years from initial exposure for symptoms to be observed.
Symptoms of peritoneum mesothelioma may include:
- abdominal pain
- weight loss
- and a swollen belly caused by a fluid buildup within the abdomen.
Treatment options include
- radiation therapy
- and targeted therapy.
Pericardium Mesothelioma is a rare form of asbestos-related cancer that affects the heart and associated tissues. It is caused by long-term exposure to asbestos, usually found in workplaces where people produce insulation or fire protection materials.
Pericardium Mesothelioma cancer can cause:
- nerve damage
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- and irregular heartbeat.
Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for managing this type of cancer, as it can quickly become fatal if left untreated. Unfortunately, due to the rarity of this condition and lack of early detection tests, the prognosis for Pericardium Mesothelioma is typically very poor.
How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
The first step in diagnosing mesothelioma is to take a detailed medical history including any past asbestos exposure. A physical exam and blood test will follow this to determine the presence of tumor markers which are proteins released in the presence of cancer.
A chest X-ray will be performed to show any thickening of the pleura or calcium deposits on the pleura, as well as an accumulation of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion). If there is suspicion of peritoneal mesothelioma, an abdominal X-ray will also be conducted to check for fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites). Other tests such as:
- CT scans
- MRI scans
- PET scans
- and biopsies may also be used if necessary.
Most people think of mesothelioma as a disease that primarily strikes men. That’s understandable since it’s often caused by exposure to asbestos in predominantly male-dominated professions like construction, shipyard work, manufacturing, and auto repair.
People who work in these industries are less likely to be exposed to asbestos today than in past decades. Further, those who have to work around asbestos have much stricter safety protocols, including extensive protective gear.
Are women catching up to men in contracting mesothelioma? Some statistics based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data have been reported recently that has researchers wondering. Between 1999 to 2020, mesothelioma fatalities among women rose by 25% for a total of more than 12,000.
How Are Women Exposed to Asbestos?
So what did these women do for a living? Here’s what researchers found:
- Health care and social services: 16%
- Education services: 11%
- Manufacturing: 9%
- Coming in higher than all of these, at nearly 25% were “homemakers.”
Since most of these women didn’t work in “high-risk” industries, how were they exposed? Researchers suspect that they had lived or worked in buildings that contained dangerous amounts of asbestos. It used to be a widespread problem in older school buildings prior to the enactment of strict regulations.
Some could also have had second-hand exposure through contact with a family member like a husband or father who brought it home on their clothing, footwear, hair, and body before the greater safety protocols were implemented. It should be noted that most of the women who succumbed to mesothelioma were over 55.
How a Mesothelioma Lawyer Can Help
Hiring a mesothelioma lawyer can help you get a settlement to pay medical costs or even funeral expenses should a loved one dies. You can pursue damages, such as:
- Medical Expenses (past, present, and future)
- Lost Income (past, present, and future)
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- and more
How Much Does a Mesothelioma Lawyer Cost?
We work on a contingency basis for personal injury claims such as a mesothelioma lawsuit. A contingency fee basis means we do not charge you anything unless we win a settlement in or out of court. This fee structure ensures we work hard for your case and that you don’t have even more out-of-pocket expenses during a stressful time. We also offer contingency fee schedules for other practice areas, such as:
If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, it’s important to work to get compensation to seek necessary care and treatment. Having legal guidance can help you explore your options. Contact Menges Law Firm Today to lear about your rights.