Mesothelioma Essentials: Mesothelioma Information, Support, and Resources
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About Mesothelioma

What is it? | Who gets it? | Symptoms | Diagnosing | Stages

Who gets Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is relatively rare. In the United States about 2,500 men and women are diagnosed with the disease each year. The average age at diagnosis is 50 to 70 years old and it affects more men than women. Most people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma have breathed asbestos fibers and dust at their jobs. Family members can also be exposed to asbestos at home from fibers that cling to workers’ clothes and hair. Approximately 50%-70% of cases are associated with asbestos exposure.

From the 1940s to the 1970s, many workers were exposed to asbestos. Those most at risk include asbestos miners, factory workers, insulation manufacturers, railroad workers, ship builders, automotive workers, and workers in the heating and construction industries. Before its use was banned in 1986, asbestos was also used in homes, schools, and commercial buildings.

Mesothelioma can take a long time to develop. The time between exposure to asbestos and development of mesothelioma is usually between 20 and 40 years.

Today, limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure have been set by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). People who work with asbestos now wear protective equipment to reduce their risk of exposure.


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