The World Health Organization recently reported that nearly 100,000 people died between 1994 to 2008 from mesothelioma, a large number considering how many cases may go undiagnosed.
While this form of cancer is still rare compared to other forms, such as lung, breast and prostate, the difficulty of diagnosing it makes keeping statistics challenging. Mesothelioma is rare and incurable, which makes it among the deadliest known forms of cancer.
Our mesothelioma lawyers have seen many families devastated to learn that their loved one has cancer solely because they worked in an old factory, in a shipyard or in construction decades ago in their youth. That’s because mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, which was common in the United States for most of the 20th century.
Asbestos was used as a form of insulation; because it resists fire, so many buildings were constructed with it in roofs and walls throughout. Piping was coated with it and boiler room equipment also used it. Manufacturers found uses for asbestos in making car parts, such as brake pads and other commonly seen things such as ceiling tiles, peat moss, wallpaper, cement, hair dryers and cigarette filters.
All kinds of companies used it. Then, people began getting sick. And dying. By the 1970s, researchers were beginning to find that asbestos was dangerous, though more than 800,000 tons of the stuff was being used commercially in the United States by 1973.
In the following decades, production tailed off. But there are many old buildings and products that still contain asbestos. Road crews sometimes still use asbestos in a mixture to create roads.
Yet, in other countries, the asbestos industry is going strong, despite the well-documented health risks. As our Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog reported in September, Canada is one of the world’s biggest exporters of asbestos. New investors restarted the countries asbestos trade and ships large amounts of the mineral to India. Russia is also a big exporter. Brazil and other third-world countries are still using the mineral to build houses and buildings.
WHO reports that mesothelioma affects men more than women and the time it takes from exposure to diagnosis is usually longer than 30 years, meaning the disease can work and spread without someone knowing it for that long. Once diagnosed, the average survival time is only 9 to 12 months. Some estimates say 43,000 people each year die from the disease, but getting good numbers is tough.
There are many countries where the cause of death simply isn’t recorded. Some places don’t have the resources to conduct research about health facts like the United States and other rich countries can. So, really, it’s difficult to know how many fathers, brothers, mothers and sisters are dying from this awful cancer.
The Ferraro Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services, including mesothelioma legal help. Call (888) 554-2030 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.