For more information of confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

Research Shows Women Have Better Survival Rates for Pleural Mesothelioma

mesothelioma lawsuitsOver the past few decades, more than 600,000 people have brought mesothelioma lawsuits against various defendants, alleging asbestos exposure led to the deadly lung disease. In fact, mesothelioma litigation marks one of the largest and longest-running mass torts in the history of the United States, with the majority of claims filed by families of those who worked in naval shipyards and other employees who toiled during the WWII- industrial era.

There is no known cure for the asbestos-related disease, which is an aggressive type of cancer that can affect the membrane lining of the lungs or the abdomen. Now, emerging research indicates that women with specific types of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) may have longer survival rates compared to men diagnosed with the same form of the disease. Though the cancer is much more prevalent in males aged 60 or older, mesothelioma diagnoses in women is thought to be caused by secondary asbestos exposure, after the fibers were brought back into the home on clothing and the body.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma survival rates higher in women

According to researchers from the North Shore & Long Island Jewish Health System and Mount Sinai Health System, women who are diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) have a three-fold better survival rate compared to men. However, the cancer almost always carries a dire prognosis, with most patients succumbing to an untimely death.  The findings, which indicated that three times as many women as men with newly diagnosed MPM can live for up to five more years, were published on June 11 in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

“This large data set confirms that although MPM is less common in women, they present with similar stage and are offered similar treatment options compared with men. Nevertheless, survival is far better in women compared with men, independent of confounders such as age, stage, and treatment. Differences in asbestos exposure, tumor biology, and the impact of circulating hormones on host response must be investigated to understand this survival advantage and improve prognosis for patients of both genders,” concluded the researchers, including included Emanuela Taioli, MD, PhD and colleagues.

The results were based on reviews of confirmed MPM cases that had been logged in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) catalog from 1973 through 2009. Data showed that men with MPM had a five-year survival rate of just 4.5 percent, while this rate jumped to 13.4 percent in women. The average mesothelioma survival rate, given the fact that the disease is normally detected in its advanced stages after symptoms present, is typically just one or two years. At this time, researchers were unable to establish why female patients with MPM had longer survival rates.

Mesothelioma lawsuits & asbestos exposure

Of the four variations of mesothelioma, MPM accounts for roughly 75 percent of all diagnosed cases in the United States. The bulk of these cases stems from a long-term occupational exposure to asbestos. Shipyard and factory employees, construction workers and mechanics are considered among those at the highest risk, though the disease can take from 20 to 50 years to develop following asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma claims arising from secondary exposure to asbestos have also been filed in courtrooms across the country more recently, with spouses and children who’ve been diagnosed with MPM seeking damages for medical expenses and other economic losses. Plaintiffs contend that they developed the cancer from indirect exposure to asbestos fibers brought into the home.