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Mesothelioma in Childhood - What are the Risks?



Mesothelioma in childhood is an extremely rare disease. Only about two percent of childhood cancers are mesothelioma. In the rare cases that children do develop this cancer however, the prognosis can be just as poor for them as it is for adults diagnosed with the disease.

Different Causes of Childhood Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma in childhood can be tied to asbestos exposure, but is just as likely to be caused by exposure to some forms of radiation, including radiation used in the treatment of certain highly aggressive cancers. In other words, mesothelioma asbestos cancer can develop in some children as a result of their being treated for certain other forms of cancer in rare cases. There have also been a few cases reported of mesothelioma in early childhood as a result of the mother having used certain medications during pregnancy. Asbestos shouldnt be ruled out as a cause, however, if there is direct evidence of regular or prolonged asbestos exposure such as from a parent who brought the substance home daily on work clothes.

Childhood Exposure and Mesothelioma

A completely different concern for those who work regularly with patients who have mesothelioma is the obvious link between asbestos cancer and childhood exposure to asbestos in the home. Many people who develop mesothelioma were actually exposed to asbestos as children. As mentioned earlier, they may have been exposed through a parent who worked with the substance or even from breathing asbestos in the air if they lived near an asbestos mining or manufacturing facility.

This proven link gives rise to worry about potential future cases of mesothelioma. Will mesothelioma and childhood exposure continue to be closely linked as todays children grow into adulthood? If so, some of todays children may be showing their first signs of asbestos cancer when they hit their fifties, despite the exposure taking place in the here and now. Fortunately, due to government regulations and the outlawing of some forms of asbestos products, mesothelioma asbestos cancer caused by exposure during childhood at home or school should become less and less common.

If you or anyone in your family has ever suffered from mesothelioma or any other asbestos related disease, you should protect all members of your family with regular screenings and careful attention to even the mildest respiratory problems. By doing this, you will greatly decrease the chances that mesothelioma in childhood will be diagnosed too late for treatment.

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