Mesothelioma has historically been seen as a working man’s disease. This is because jobs involving asbestos were predominantly male-dominated. As a result, men faced higher levels of asbestos exposure. Sadly, this means that men are subsequently more likely to develop the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma. The statistics confirm that men are at greater risk – in 2014 2,300 men were diagnosed with the disease in comparison to 430 women.

However, sadly, the number of women diagnosed with mesothelioma is rising.

Women are most likely to be diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma:

The most common mesothelioma diagnosis for both men and women is pleural mesothelioma. This form of the disease affects the lining of the lungs.

However, the ratio of pleural versus peritoneal mesothelioma (that affects the lining of the abdomen) is higher in women than men. Pleural mesothelioma is diagnosed five times more often in men than peritoneal mesothelioma. However, for women it is only diagnosed twice as often.

Women experience first-hand asbestos exposure as well:

It has often been assumed that women who develop mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos through their fathers’ or husbands’ work clothes. This is called secondary exposure. However, we are seeing more cases where women have been exposed to asbestos first-hand at work.

Workplace exposure may be the reason why diagnosis for women has increased. Factories, bakeries, and schools are all workplaces where people face asbestos exposure.

Claiming compensation

Women who have been exposed to asbestos at work and develop mesothelioma can make civil compensation claims against their former employers. This is provided that the company is still trading or employers’ liability insurance can be traced.

For those suffering with mesothelioma due to secondary asbestos exposure it can be more difficult. To claim compensation the company that exposed you must either:

  • Still be trading
  • or public liability insurance must be traced for the period when the injury was “sustained”. This is considered to be 5 to 10 years before a diagnosis.

This causes huge problems when companies closed many years ago as they will not have any insurance for the relevant time. If you cannot make a civil compensation claim, you may be able to get a lump sum payment from the government through the 2008 Mesothelioma Scheme. This should be considered a last resort – the awards are substantially less than that which would be received from a successful legal claim.

Treatment of mesothelioma

The treatment options for mesothelioma depend on the location and stage of the cancer. Treatment options are similar for both men and women.

Women tend to be diagnosed with mesothelioma at a younger age than men. As a result, women may be offered more aggressive treatment. This treatment may include an extrapleural pneumonectomy. This involves removing a whole lung, the lining of the lungs, part of the diaphragm, and some lymph nodes.

Mesothelioma prognosis

The prognosis for women with mesothelioma is better than for men because they are diagnosed younger. Sadly, there is still no cure for mesothelioma. As a result, treatment is focused on extending the length and quality of a patient’s life.

How can we help?

If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim for mesothelioma or 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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