Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, a form of cancer that develops in the lining that covers the outer surface of some organs, such as the heart, lungs and stomach. However, a significant percentage of people exposed to asbestos don’t develop mesothelioma. This means other factors, including genetics, may contribute to someone developing the disease.
Here is how this may happen:
BAP1 gene mutation
Research shows that people with mesothelioma have a mutated BAP1. And this gene can be inherited, increasing the risk of someone developing this cancer type. Therefore, mesothelioma is not hereditary, but one can inherit risk factors.
Do you have a case if you inherited the genetic risk factors?
If you develop mesothelioma but were born with a mutated BAP1 gene, you may still file a claim against the liable party, which in most cases is an employer. This is because you were exposed to asbestos. If you weren’t, you could not have developed the disease, despite having the mutated gene.
Further, even if you knew you were highly at risk, perhaps you have a family history of mesothelioma (parental or sibling), if your employer fails to warn you about the presence and dangers of asbestos or provide you with personal protective equipment, you may develop the disease despite taking precautions.
How will you prove your case?
To prove you were exposed to asbestos at work, you may need to follow similar procedures to someone without high-risk genetic factors. The evidence you may need include your medical records (test results and pathology reports), your job description (duties/products you worked with) and statements from colleagues.
Having increased chances of developing mesothelioma should not prevent you from fighting for your rights. If you are exposed to asbestos and develop this disease, it may help to obtain adequate information about your case to receive just compensation.