Mesothelioma Latency Period

“Latency period” is the medical term for the period in which a disease begins and the warning symptoms become apparent. In comparison with other asbestos-related diseases, mesothelioma has the longest latency period. The average latency period for mesothelioma patients is 40-60 years. However, it has been noted in some cases to be as early as 10 years.

Factors that Affect Latency Periods

Sadly, the latency period leaves many patients with poor prognoses. As with most cancers, mesothelioma is best combated with early diagnoses. Before the cancer has metastasized, surgery can remove the cancerous cells and surrounding healthy tissues, giving patients a chance at living in remission. Unfortunately, the majority of mesothelioma cases are not diagnosed until the latter stages, offering only a short life expectancy – sometimes just a year. In many cases, treatment options depend on the age and physical health of the patient as well as the development stage of the cancer.

Mesothelioma Latency Period

Depending on the amount of asbestos and the timeframe of exposure, the latency period can fluctuate. Mesothelioma can develop in patients who experienced high levels of exposure over a short duration, high levels over a long duration, and low levels over a long duration. It is estimated that the more an individual is exposed to asbestos, the shorter the latency period, and that’s because the patient has a higher burden of asbestos. These cases are most commonly attributed to patients who were exposed during work within the asbestos manufacturing industry as well as the insulation industry and in shipyards.

Often, the date of the exposure is difficult to pinpoint because the latency period is so long. This is especially true of the cases caused by occupational asbestos exposure. Throughout the 20th century, asbestos was prevalent in many industries because of its resistance to heat, fire, electricity conduction, and chemicals. For many years, no regulations were in place regarding proper protective gear and levels of exposure, making secondary exposure possible.

Consequently, anyone who has a history of working with asbestos and is experiencing any pain should consult a doctor immediately. Being aware of a disease like mesothelioma can help raise prevention and promote early detection.

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