Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related conditions are often seen as diseases which affect older people. In the past the statistics have supported this view. This is because the jobs that exposed people to asbestos were male-dominated. Due to the 10-50 year latency period of asbestos conditions (the time that passes between being exposed to asbestos, and the development of disease symptoms) people are normally at retirement age by the time they are diagnosed.

Rise of cases in young adults

Unfortunately, there seems to be a growing number of young adults developing incurable mesothelioma. We have previously written about a particularly tragic mesothelioma claim we won for Mrs R. Her son, Aaron, was just 22 when he sadly passed away from mesothelioma. It is a case we will never forget. Aaron was just a baby when he was exposed to asbestos from his father’s work clothes and died just eight weeks after developing the symptoms of the disease. This was the most tragic of all of the mesothelioma claims we have dealt with.

We have also reported on Danielle Smalley, who at the age of 23 was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. She underwent a major surgery to remove the lining of her stomach and the last we heard, had been given the all clear, although she will have to have yearly check-ups.

We were able to pinpoint where Aaron was exposed to asbestos, but Danielle is still unsure how she was exposed, believing she possibly ingested some asbestos by accident as a child.

Symptoms & progression of mesothelioma

Mesothelioma in younger people presents and progresses differently than is common in older patients.

Cell type

Although there were no major differences found in the cell type of mesothelioma, patients under the age of 35 have been found to have a worse overall survival of biphasic or sarcomatoid mesothelioma. This means that there is a much higher cancer cell growth rate.

Gender differences

Younger mesothelioma patients tend to be women.

BAP1 protein

BAP1 is a genetic mutation that has been identified as a marker for increased risk to mesothelioma. Research has shown that in younger patients this protein is less prevalent.

Exposure to asbestos

Although, like Danielle, many younger mesothelioma patients are unable to say where they were exposed to asbestos, most have suffered second-hand or “bystander” exposure. This was what happened in Aaron’s case. Young people can be exposed to asbestos when carrying out DIY work, or at school.

How can we help?

If you require assistance in pursuing a mesothelioma claim or believe you have a valid asbestos claim for any other asbestos disease then please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.


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