Asbestos: a common link between mesothelioma and ovarian cancer

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We know that mesothelioma is not just a man’s disease as women comprise an estimated 22% of annual cases of this rare form of cancer. But did you know that a correlation exists between mesothelioma cases and ovarian cancer cases in the U.S.? And that asbestos exposure is a common link between these two forms of cancer?

This information was among the findings of a 2020 study published in the Journal of Women’s Health. Relying on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute, researchers came to this conclusion after reviewing the co-occurrence of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer rates in U.S. states from 2003 to 2015.

Higher risk of ovarian cancer

The study cited a number of other scientific sources that demonstrated that women exposed to asbestos have higher risks of an ovarian cancer diagnosis than women who have not been exposed to the mineral.

Asbestos is a known cause of several cancers, including mesothelioma and ovarian, laryngeal and lung cancers. Ovarian cancer is among the most common forms of cancer among U.S. women. The study found that 21,000 cases of ovarian cancer occurred in 2015 with the highest rates recorded among women aged 75 to 84.

States with high rates of mesothelioma see high rates of ovarian cancer

In a state-by-state review of cases of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer, researchers concluded that the rates of ovarian cancer were lower in states that had low numbers of mesothelioma cases and higher in states that recorded higher numbers of mesothelioma cases.

To be exact, the average ovarian cancer rate was 10% higher in states that recorded the highest rates of mesothelioma compared with the states that had the lowest numbers of mesothelioma cases.

Exposure in jobs and households

Asbestos exposure for women (and anyone) may occur through:

  • Jobs: Including as factory, retail and office workers; in the medical field as nurses; in education as teachers and administrators; in the hospitality industry as cleaners and housekeepers
  • Household exposures: Living with someone who has regular asbestos exposure
  • The use of commercial products: Including talcum powder
  • Buildings where they reside: Living in structures that contain deteriorating construction materials made with asbestos

In the past 60 years, the world has slowly become aware of the dangers of asbestos, found in many commercial and building products. That awareness must continue.

See your doctor and an attorney

We know the dangers of asbestos. Now we also understand that asbestos exposure not only contributes the mesothelioma cases but, also, the cases of ovarian cancer. . If you suspect contact with asbestos through the years, see your doctor, make regular visits and consider contacting an attorney.

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