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Are Mesothelioma Patients Getting Younger?

The typical mesothelioma patient is presumed to the elderly due to the lengthiest of latency periods of any form of cancer, specifically two to five decades. The average age of those living with this deadly form of cancer is in the sixties. Pleural mesothelioma alone is at 72 years old. A select few have not reached their 40th birthday when they are diagnosed.

Recently, the Chest Journal reported a man in his twenties diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. He was experiencing the all-too-common symptom – persistent dry cough, night sweats and pleural effusions and thickening – before receiving the all-too tragic diagnosis.

The suspected cause. A literal lifetime of asbestos exposure.

For most of his first seven years of life, he visited his parents, who worked in buildings undergoing asbestos abatement. His interest in pottery saw him routinely visiting studios for the next 17 years, where products containing talc were commonplace.

The Consequences of Talc Use

Talc is well known for its proximity to asbestos fibers in mines. Johnson & Johnson continue to literally pay a steep price for their use of talc in their products with some recently eliminated from the domestic marketplace.

No longer limited to working adults, younger people who not only have an interest in pottery but also use cosmetics and various types of powders are exposing themselves to a deadly disease that could manifest in early adulthood. While little, if any tangible proof exists yet as to that connection, the signs seem ominous that a younger age demographic could become more prominent in mesothelioma diagnoses.

The American Journal of Industrial Medicine published a report showing that out of 75 people who suffer from the deadly form of cancer, ten were diagnosed before 40 and four before 30.

While the sampling size is small, the possibility of younger people contracting the illness in greater numbers could become a harsh reality.

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