Mesothelioma Latency Periods
The mesothelioma latency period refers to the amount of time between exposure to asbestos and the manifestation of clinical symptoms. Mesothelioma has an unusually long latency period, with a minimum of 20 years and an average of about 35 to 40 years.
Most mesothelioma patients are diagnosed at any age with the majority between the ages of 40 and 69. It is very rare for mesothelioma to occur in children, which make up only 2 to 5 percent of cases of malignant mesothelioma. The total number of Americans who have been exposed to asbestos is estimated to be about 28 million.
Factors affecting latency periods
Latency periods vary depending on the length of exposure to asbestos and are one of the major challenges with managing the onset of disease as the symptoms take so long to manifest. Generally speaking, the longer amount of time an individual is exposed tends to correlate to higher instances of being diagnosed with mesothelioma. However, individual cases can vary depending on the degree of daily exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma’s various forms can also effect latency periods. According to one study, the mean latency period for peritonial mesothelioma, which originates in the abdomen, was 28 years, whereas the mean latency period for pleural mesothelioma, which initially appears in the chest, was 35 years.
In comparison to most cancers, mesothelioma remains latent for a very long time. When physical symptoms finally develop, and by the time a diagnosis is reached, the mesothelioma may already be life-threatening.
Detection & Diagnosis of Mesothelioma
The best course of action is to see out a physician that has extensive experience in cancer, and specifically mesothelioma if possible. However, there are some proactive measures people should be aware of that may provide for an earlier diagnosis of mesothelioma.
Mesomark, for example, is a mesothelioma blood test approved by the FDA in 2007. A simple test, it measures a particular cancer biomarker and can catch the disease in its early stages of development. People exposed to asbestos can also schedule annual X-rays, as well as CT scans, MRIs, and biopsies.
Despite these measures, mesothelioma is almost always fatal. Mesothelioma is usually isolated as the cause of symptoms merely two or three months before a malignant tumor is discovered, which in turn leads to poor prognoses. The average survival time for patients diagnosed with the disease is about one to two years.
Get help today
If you think that you or a loved one may have been exposed to asbestos, we can help. Contact us at Landry, Swarr and Canella, Louisiana’s asbestos attorneys. We can provide the help and guidance you need during this difficult time.