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Risk of death among mesothelioma patients depends on type

Public health researchers from Italy have found that the risk of dying from mesothelioma rises and then falls over the decades following exposure to asbestos, yet these peaks and valleys differ based on the type of mesothelioma. Workers in Louisville who are exposed to asbestos may develop one of several types of this cancer. For instance, it may affect their peritoneum (the membrane lining the abdomen), pleurae (the lining of the lungs), or pericardium (the sac containing the heart). The chances of developing lung cancer are also high.

The research suggests that the risk of dying from peritoneal mesothelioma remains high even while the risk of dying from pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer begins to decrease. Peritoneal mesothelioma makes up about a fifth of the 2,500 mesothelioma cases that arise every year in the U.S. Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest, and pleural mesothelioma is the most common.

The chances of death from pleural mesothelioma spiked between 20 and 29 years after exposure and then declined. The same chances with peritoneal mesothelioma plateaued at 20 years and then remained the same without ever dropping off. For their data, researchers had analyzed mesothelioma cases among asbestos cement workers in Bari, Italy.

In the U.S., asbestos exposure is still a distinct possibility. Workers may find themselves working in old buildings where asbestos is in the ducts and insulation. There is no complete ban on asbestos in this country, and the mineral can still be found in certain products. People who have been exposed to the substance might find it advisable to meet with an attorney in order to learn what recourse might be available.

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