Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos, and it often takes decades for it to develop. Most mesothelioma patients are older, but there have been rare cases of mesothelioma in children and teenagers. Research suggests that there may be a different mechanism at play in younger patients.
When asbestos fibers become airborne, they can be inhaled or ingested. Once they get lodged in the chest cavity, they can never get out, and they damage the surrounding tissue for years. After a latency period of 10 to 60+ years, tumors begin to develop. Because it takes so long for mesothelioma tumors to form, the vast majority of mesothelioma patients are 65 years old or older. There are 2,500 to 3,000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed each year, but there are only a few hundred documented cases of mesothelioma in children and teens.
While many mesothelioma patients encountered asbestos in the workplace, there are other ways that children and teens might be exposed.
There are some consumer products that still contain asbestos, despite the heavy restrictions on asbestos use in the United States. Asbestos has also been discovered in some products geared toward children, including crayons and toys, as well as in some cosmetics sold in children’s stores.
Some children were exposed to asbestos in the home as a result of a parent or relative’s workplace exposure. The asbestos dust from their clothes and hair exposed other people in the household. Asbestos is also found in older buildings. Homes, offices, retail spaces, and schools that were built before the 1970s were constructed using asbestos products, such as drywall, floor and ceiling tiles, insulation for pipes and boilers, paints, cement, and more. Some buildings may still contain asbestos products. If they become damaged due to renovation or wear and tear, asbestos dust can be released into the air.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma in Young Patients
Symptoms of mesothelioma in young people are similar to those in older patients, and typically include cough, difficulty breathing, and chest pain for those with pleural mesothelioma. While approximately 90 percent of older patients are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, patients under 40 years old are much more likely to develop peritoneal mesothelioma, which infects the lining of the abdomen and can present with abdominal pain and digestive issues.
Treatment for mesothelioma is the same in adults and children, though younger patients are more likely to be eligible for surgery, which gives them a better chance of long-term survival. There are also some clinical trials involving manipulating the DNA of viruses that could benefit young patients.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Children and Teens Diagnosed With Mesothelioma
If your child has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, speak with one of our Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine your options. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us at 877-743-4652 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.