Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that statistically affects men more often than women. It is because mesothelioma is mainly caused by asbestos exposure and men worked more often at asbestos job sites as opposed to women. Although, there are cases of women reported who diagnosed with mesothelioma because of heavy contact with asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma Incidence Trends and Gender Differences
Statistics show that the incidence of mesothelioma is higher in men than women. This is probably the result of work patterns as mostly men work in asbestos-contaminated environments than women. Asbestos job sites include manufacturing, auto repair, shipyard, railroad, construction, farming, and textile production. But over the past few years, there has been an increase in the incidence of mesothelioma in women. Researchers believe this is because of secondary asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma in Women – What are the Causes?
Although mesothelioma has historically affected far more males than females, there have been a number of studies conducted that showed that women too developed mesothelioma because of asbestos exposure. Doctors believe that women who developed mesothelioma were likely to have received second hand exposure. This means they had no direct exposure to the asbestos fibers but they exposed to asbestos from their husbands or fathers who had worked in chemical plants, oil refineries, power plants or steel mills, where asbestos were abundant.
Workplace asbestos exposure may be the causes of mesothelioma in women. Researchers deem that many women worked voluntarily to support the war effort during World War II. Consequently, a number of women went to work in shipyards, factories and other locations where they could easily be exposed to asbestos. Some studies also showed that women are exposed to naturally-occurring asbestos in the United States, Turkey and its surrounding areas, where asbestos is abundant.
Mostly women developed peritoneal mesothelioma that is easily misdiagnosed with ovarian cancer. It is difficult for oncologists to diagnose mesothelioma and historically distinguish between the mesothelial tissue of the peritoneum and ovary tissues. This will lead to delayed diagnosis. It is possible that many cases of mesothelioma are misdiagnosed because symptoms are closely related to other common illnesses.
Since mesothelioma prognosis is very poor but an early detection can prevent many unnecessary complication and help doctors to prescribe the best possible method of mesothelioma treatment.