Mesothelioma has always been considered a predominantly male disease. That’s because the industries in which people have been exposed to asbestos (which is the chief cause of mesothelioma), like construction, manufacturing and shipyard work, employ mostly men.
However, some troubling statistics have recently been reported concerning mesothelioma and women. Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers found that between 1999 and 2020, the number of mesothelioma-related deaths among women rose by 25%.
What were these women’s occupations?
When researchers looked at the most common industries in which the 12,000-plus women who died during these two decades from malignant mesothelioma worked, here’s what they found:
- 16% worked in healthcare and social services
- 11% worked in education services
- 9% worked in manufacturing
Interestingly, nearly a quarter of the women who died were classified as “homemakers.”
It should be noted that the vast majority of the women who succumbed to malignant mesothelioma were 55 and over. The states with the most cases spanned Maine to Washington. Pennsylvania was not among them.
How else could they have been exposed?
So how is mesothelioma among women who didn’t work in “high-risk” occupations for asbestos exposure explained? Researchers hypothesized that it could be from living or working in older buildings that contain asbestos. It was once a serious problem in older school buildings before numerous government regulations were enacted.
Another potential source of exposure is contact with a family member who brought it home on their clothing, shoes and body. The fact that nearly all of these women were older could mean that they were first exposed before the considerable asbestos protections we have today were in place.
Doctors and researchers are always gaining new insight into mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases that will help them find more effective treatments and eventually cures for them. That’s why if you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma, it’s crucial to look into sources of compensation that can help you access the best medical care and live a longer, more comfortable life.