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Men more susceptible to mesothelioma than women

March 1st, 2007

A study in Australia has revealed that men are more likely than women to receive mesothelioma diagnosis after asbestos exposure.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia studied more than 4,700 former residents of the mining town Wittenoom who had been exposed to asbestos. None of the study participants had worked in the mining industry. Although the town was closed in 1966, because of the long latency period for mesothelioma, many of these patients have only recently developed mesothelioma symptoms.

The study found that men had four times the rate of mesothelioma as women, even when adjusted for age and length of exposure. Researchers also revealed that people who were first exposed to asbestos after age 15 were 2.4 times as likely to develop mesothelioma symptoms as those who were first exposed before 15. Not surprisingly, the study found that the rate of mesothelioma deaths increased based on the length of a person’s exposure.

Alison Reid, the lead researcher in the study, says that although asbestos exposure is becoming more uncommon in the developed world, this new data on the link between mesothelioma and asbestos may help to protect the lives of people living in the Third World. “The asbestos epidemic is almost past its peak in the developed world, but elsewhere it will be just starting,” says Reid. “It is still being used in developing countries—where they have little or no regulation about its use, worker protection or means of treatment.”

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