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Mesothelioma: Risk Factors

Posted by Michael Throneberry | Jan 07, 2022

According to the American Cancer Society, a risk factor is anything that increases an individual's chances of getting a disease, such as the type of cancer known as mesothelioma. However, the presence of a risk factor does not automatically mean that a person will develop mesothelioma.  Individuals with risk factors should always remain aware of their health and notify their doctor immediately they notice an unusual change.

Below are some of the top factors that increase an individual's risk of developing mesothelioma:

Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure is the main risk factor for mesothelioma. It is estimated that between 90% and 95% of individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma have suffered asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a toxic substance that was once commonly used because of its properties. People who are exposed to asbestos can breathe in asbestos fibers which can get stuck in their lungs. Asbestos fibers that get stuck in the lungs can enter the pleural lining of the lung and chest wall through the ends of some small airways. These fibers can then, in time, cause mesothelioma.

There are several forms of asbestos exposure that people experience. These are;

  • Occupational asbestos exposure
  • Environment asbestos exposure
  • Secondhand/Secondary asbestos exposure

Usually, people exposed to asbestos at an early age and at higher levels are more likely to develop mesothelioma. However, most individuals who suffer low levels of asbestos exposure do not develop mesothelioma. Generally, the risk of mesothelioma is related loosely to the amount of asbestos to which an individual has been exposed.


According to the American Cancer Society, the risk of developing mesothelioma increases with age. Mesothelioma is quite rare in people below the age of 45. According to the American Cancer Society, about two out of three individuals with mesothelioma of the chest are aged 65 or older. However, this does not mean that young people and children cannot develop mesothelioma.


Experts have found that men, especially those above the age of 65, are at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma. However, that is not because gender is a direct mesothelioma risk factor. The reason men are at a higher risk than women for developing mesothelioma is perhaps that men are more likely to have worked in asbestos-contaminated worksites than women.

Radiation Exposure

Being exposed to radiation can increase the risk of developing mesothelioma. However, even though the risk of mesothelioma is higher in individuals that have been treated with radiation, this type of cancer remains rare in these individuals.


So far, there is no direct link between smoking and mesothelioma. Smoking by itself generally does not increase the risk of mesothelioma.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyers

If you or someone you know was diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our offices to speak to an experienced mesothelioma attorney about your case. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if you have a case to seek compensation from negligent parties to help cater for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

About the Author

Michael Throneberry

Attorney Michael Throneberry graduated from Purdue University with a Civil Engineering degree. He then served with the United States Army...

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