Mesothelioma -The Latency Period

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma can affect your heart, lungs, and stomach cavity. It causes excess fluid buildup and eventually death. More and more cases of this disease are happening now than ever before. If there are laws protecting people from asbestos exposure, why are there more cases? Asbestos exposure doesn’t show symptoms right away; sometimes it takes decades. The influx of cases are from people exposed between 20 to 50 years ago. It doesn’t make sense, but it is called a latency period.

What is a latency period?

A latency period is a time between exposure to a toxin and the development of the disease. In the case of mesothelioma, it has an incredibly long latency period. Mesothelioma is known for its long time between exposure and diagnosis. On average, the latency period for mesothelioma is between 20 and 50 years. This means after exposure to asbestos, it can take at least twenty years to show up. The latency period usually depends on the length of exposure and the intensity. This is why so many cases of mesothelioma are now coming out. People in their 60s and 70s are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Most worked in construction or other jobs that used asbestos fibers.

What are the Symptoms?

Mesothelioma symptoms usually start out as a cough and difficulty breathing. The symptoms may start before the cancer is detected. Severe respiratory problems and illnesses such as asbestosis develop into mesothelioma. Symptoms then become worse and more problems arise. Over time the symptoms can become debilitating. Swelling, fatigue, trouble breathing, and weight loss are just some of the symptoms that accompany this serious illness.

If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos, it is crucial that you are checked by a doctor on a regular basis. Early detection can lead to a longer and healthier life.

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