Those with mesothelioma in Pennsylvania may wonder if the condition only develops in adults. A small number of children are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Because so few children develop the disease, very little is known. A study done by researchers with the European Cooperative Study Group looked into the characteristics of the disease in children.

The study looked at 33 individuals under the age of 21 who were diagnosed with mesothelioma between 1987 and 2018. Mesothelioma is a malignant form of cancer that develops in the lining in the organs of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma in adults are due to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a silicate mineral that is commonly found in construction material.

Previous studies on pediatric mesothelioma found that children were exposed to asbestos secondhand, such as from a parent who worked with it at a construction site. The European research study has found this to not be true. Only one pediatric mesothelioma patient in the study was exposed to asbestos secondhand. Other differences in children with the disease include a better response to treatment and a more positive long-term diagnosis. Pediatric cases also differ from adults in that the primary tumor develops in the peritoneal membrane in the stomach rather than in the pleural membrane in the lungs as is common in adult patients. Mesothelioma typically takes several decades to develop in adults; children with the condition can develop it in a much shorter frame of time.

Those who were exposed to asbestos while working are typically entitled to help from their former employers. A lawyer might be able to file a claim on behalf of an adult against a business where the exposure occurred. Monetary and medical damages may be paid so that those who are affected can receive proper medical care.