Mesothelioma is a deadly disease that is largely associated with asbestos exposure. Since occupational asbestos exposure is less common for women because men worked more frequently at asbestos job sites which put them in contact with harmful asbestos fibers. Men are the most prominent victims of the mesothelioma, but there is also some indication that mesothelioma in women is on the rise in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom in recent years.
1. Occupational Asbestos Exposure
Since mostly women did not work in asbestos job sites but there are some studies that show that only about one-fifth of women diagnosed with mesothelioma had a history of occupational asbestos exposure. It is estimated that occupational asbestos exposure is not the significant cause of the majority of women diagnosed with mesothelioma. However, some researchers believe that mesothelioma in women can be caused by the workplace exposure to asbestos. It is because; during World War II many women worked outside the home as volunteers, many to support the war effort. Consequently, a number of women were regularly exposed to asbestos in shipyards, factories, and other places where they where they could easily be exposed to asbestos fibers. This could be the leading cause of mesothelioma in women.
2. Secondary Asbestos Exposure
Oncologists and researchers recognize that females are highly susceptible to this deadly cancer, due to secondary asbestos exposure. However, secondary exposure is not solely responsible to develop mesothelioma in women. Secondary exposure means a person had no direct exposure to the asbestos fibers but was likely subject to exposure by an indirect means. Many women come in contact with asbestos fibers when handling and washing their husbands or fathers clothing who worked in chemical plants, oil refineries, power plants, steel mills and factories where this hazardous substance were found in abundance.
Symptoms of mesothelioma in women are similar to those experienced by men. However, it is observed that women victims usually feel more pain in the chest area because of significantly smaller thoracic cavity compared to that of male victims.
An early mesothelioma diagnosis is essential to treat the disease effectively. Mesothelioma diagnosis requires clinical trials in order to identify the stage and type of mesothelioma. Oncologists recommend different treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy for women diagnosed with mesothelioma.
A latest study published in a 2010 issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, suggests that that survival rate for women diagnosed with mesothelioma is better than male victims of the disease. Therefore women should be treated aggressively for mesothelioma, if there are no other risk factors present.