Published On: Tue, May 16th, 2023

Have You Heard About Mesothelioma? Here Are Some Things to Know

When it comes to the most feared medical prognosis a person can get, the one that tops the list is usually cancer. But there are different types of cancer. Some are more common than others, some are rarer than others, and some are more aggressive than others.

One of the rarest kinds is known as mesothelioma. It’s an aggressive cancer that usually begins in the thin layer of tissue around the lungs. Keep reading to learn seven things about mesothelioma.


  1. Men At Greater Risk Than Women

There are various kinds of mesothelioma, but pleural mesothelioma is the most common. In fact, approximately 75% to 80%  of mesothelioma diagnoses are pleural mesothelioma. And about eight out of 10 pleural mesothelioma patients are men. One reason for this discrepancy is the asbestos exposure in many industries that are male-dominated. 

  1. Asbestos Exposure on the Job Increases Risks

Men over 65 years old who worked in jobs exposing them to asbestos are at a heightened risk. Such jobs include military service, shipbuilding, manufacturing, chemical refining, power generation, firefighting, and construction. But there’s also a secondary asbestos risk since people in close contact with those exposed to asbestos can also be contaminated by association. 

  1. Survival Rate Usually One to Two Years

According to one source, the mesothelioma survival rate is usually between four months to 18 months post-diagnosis. The five-year survival rate for those with this form of cancer is 10%. It’s a sobering statistic to see that 90% of patients don’t live past five years after diagnosis. But some mesothelioma patients live beyond 10 years post-diagnosis. 

The good news is that the life expectancy rates after a diagnosis continues to go up as more is understood about the disease and as treatment options get better. 

  1. Several Thousand Diagnoses Per Year

In the U.S., there are around 3,000 people diagnosed annually with mesothelioma. That makes mesothelioma a rare type of cancer. In fact, it accounts for less than half a percent of all U.S. cancer diagnoses. The odds are you will never be diagnosed with this disease.

  1. White Men Most at Risk 

Of all the people diagnosed with mesothelioma, around nine out of 10 of them — 90% — are White. And there are more cases among Hispanic people than among Asian or Black people. The higher percentages of White and Hispanic men in jobs with a higher risk of asbestos exposure is the reason for this.

  1. Usually Takes at Least 20 Years for Mesothelioma to Develop

It usually takes between 20 and 60 years after asbestos exposure for mesothelioma to develop. For men, the average period between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma symptoms is 47.9 years. It’s 53.3 years for women. So, there’s a relatively long period between exposure and symptoms.

  1. Mesothelioma Can Occur In Different Locations of the Body

According to one source, the majority of mesothelioma cases happen in the pleura, which involves the tissue lining around the lungs. Around 20% of cases occur in the peritoneum, which involves the tissue lining the abdomen. A mere 1% of cases are referred to as pericardium mesothelioma, which involves the tissue lining the heart. And south of 1% of cases occur in the tunica vaginalis, which is the tissue lining the testes. 

If you’ve never heard of mesothelioma before, you now know what it is and other facts about the aggressive cancer. Its rarity is one reason why it’s not as well known as some other more common forms of cancer. But due to its seriousness and aggressiveness, it doesn’t hurt to know something about it.

Author: Anna Johansson

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