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Mesothelioma in Young Patients

Key Takeaways: In all mesothelioma cases, about 2% account for patients under the age of 40.

While asbestos exposure is certainly associated with young people’s likelihood of developing mesothelioma, these patients often have a genetic proclivity or another a different risk factor (like extensive radiation exposure or Isoniazid, which is an antibiotic).



Mesothelioma is imagined as only affecting older adults, given its risk factors, the latency period between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma symptoms, and the widespread use of asbestos in prior decades. In most cases, the median age of diagnosis is 72. However, people under the age of 40 can develop mesothelioma; these cases account for about 2% of all mesothelioma cases in the United States.



Although it’s been established that asbestos exposure is the main risk factor for developing mesothelioma (especially in older adults), there are likely other factors at play for young people. For instance, there is a BAP1 gene that can be mutated; this mutation is genetic and can increase one’s likelihood to develop mesothelioma if the mutated gene is inherited. There is also the possibility of excess (temporally extended and recurrent) radiation exposure to the abdomen or chest, either through improper X-Ray techniques or through previous radiation treatment (for other cancers or diseases). Lastly, there have been a few documented cases of in utero exposure to Isoniazid, which is an antibiotic, being connected with early-onset mesothelioma.



The prognosis for young mesothelioma patients is significantly better than for older patients. This could be attributed to less compounding health complications, better lifestyle conditions (more physical activity, better overall health), and relatively more “durable” body systems. Young patients also have significantly better responses to surgical responses Thomas et. al found that “the analysis confirmed that young age was associated with better survival (5 year survival rate 38% vs. 3%, 1 year survival rate 65% vs. 37%).” Importantly, there is a notable lack of studies that explore youth mesothelioma outcomes that are not retrospective, meaning that researchers look back on and analyze previous data.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please call The Halpern Law Firm at (800) 505-6000. We are here to help you navigate the legal process of filing a claim to receive compensation for your cancer diagnosis. Our mesothelioma attorneys help mesothelioma victims and their families in Pennsylvania.


Thomas, A., Chen, Y., Yu, T., Gill, A., & Prasad, V. (2015). Distinctive clinical characteristics of malignant mesothelioma in young patients. Oncotarget, 6(18), 16766–16773.

Written By Carina Filemyr

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David brenton


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