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How long after exposure does mesothelioma develop?

Due to the long latency period, in most cases, people become aware of the illness when it has already spread. Raising awareness nowadays about asbestos mesothelioma can help people recognize the symptoms earlier.

Most commonly, people diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are already 60-70 years old. Symptoms of the disease may appear and persist over the years and they urge the individuals to get diagnosed when they become annoying or debilitating.

Malignant Mesothelioma Is an Aggressive Form of Cancer

More than 80% mesothelioma cases develop after asbestos exposure, in decades after the initial contact. These are the malignant mesothelioma cases, while benign mesothelioma cases are not cancerous and they are not caused by asbestos.

The main types of mesothelioma are pleural mesothelioma ( cancer developed in the lining of the lungs) and peritoneal mesothelioma (cancer developed in the lining of the abdomen).

Latency Period Takes a Few Decades

While the median of 30 to 45 years latency period is a more recent finding, it is customary to consider that typical mesothelioma latency lasts from 20 to 50 years. It has been observed that the shortest possible latency, under normal circumstances, lasts about 10 to 15 years. The longest latency period didn't exceed 50 years.

The Time Period Depends on Various Factors

There are factors that determine latency, such as:

  • the patient's gender;
  • the type of mesothelioma;
  • the duration and intensity of asbestos exposure.

There is an obvious correlation between shorter duration of exposure and lower exposure levels that determines a longer period of latency. Conversely, it is also shown that individuals with high levels of exposure for longer periods will have much shorter periods of latency. 

We wanted a resource where people who are looking for better help can find it, because one of the issues that I have found is that the diagnosis takes a little bit, some people don’t know if they are diagnosed or not. This is something that it is important enough, that is why I wanted to put the information together.