Asbestos exposure may lead to mesothelioma, a type of cancer that occurs in the tissue that lines some internal organs, such as the lungs, heart and stomach, among others. Research shows that about 3,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year.
You may be exposed to asbestos at work or home. Examples of workers at high risk are pipefitters, electricians, painters, boilermakers, roofers and aircraft mechanics, to mention a few.
Also, you may be exposed to this mineral at home. For instance, if you live or handle the clothing of a worker directly exposed to it. Asbestos may also be present in the fabric of school or office buildings.
But how long will it take to be diagnosed with mesothelioma?
20 to 50 years
Medical experts estimate the latency period of mesothelioma at 20 to 50 years. It may take decades before you are diagnosed with the illness after you were exposed to asbestos. Accordingly, most people diagnosed with mesothelioma are usually in their 60s or above. However, the diagnosis may be sooner, before 60, if you were exposed at an early age.
Why the difference in the latency period?
The period it takes for mesothelioma to develop differs due to numerous factors. These include duration and intensity of exposure and fiber type. People in high-risk occupations are exposed to high levels of asbestos for prolonged periods. Thus, their latency period may be shorter.
Some asbestos types may also be more harmful than others, reducing the latency period. Further, direct exposure has a shorter latency period than second hand exposure.
Being diagnosed with mesothelioma is worrying. Consider fighting for your rights to get the compensation you are eligible for.