Mesothelioma.. not just a disease of the elderly | Cancer-Champions | Health Care Consulting

What do you think of when you hear the word Mesothelioma?  For many, the word brings to mind televised warnings from legal firms urging you to contact an attorney if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with this rare form of cancer or been exposed to asbestos.

Often referred to as an  “old man’s “ disease, mesothelioma predominantly affects males following occupational exposure to asbestos.   The ubiquitous use of asbestos as a construction material prior to its regulation and ban in the late 1980s means it may be found in buildings in almost every city and town throughout the world.  It has been used in paints, wall and ceiling textures, insulation, floor and roof tiles, plaster, siding and many other building materials found in homes, schools and public buildings.

As a result of the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, more than 1,000 tons of asbestos are thought to have been released into the air and inhalation of a mixture of asbestos and other toxicants are thought to be linked to the unusually high incidence of cancer and cancer-related deaths of emergency and first responders to the 911 disaster.

Mesothelioma in Children

Although rare, medical research has noted the development of mesothelioma in children since at least the 1960s, when asbestos was first scientifically linked to the disease.  The affected children had not reported exposure to asbestos, however, given the rampant use of asbestos in construction and everyday products cited above, it is likely those children were unknowingly exposed

Mesothelioma is always aggressive, but there is significant evidence that it may develop more quickly in children and young teenagers than in older adults.

Signs and Symptoms

Because of the rarity of this diagnosis in children, symptoms of mesothelioma may be easily confused with more common conditions resulting in a likely scenario of one or more incorrect diagnoses before considering mesothelioma.

Symptoms in children are similar to those experienced in adults and may include:

  •       Shortness of breath
  •       Chest pain
  •       Fatigue
  •       Abdominal pain
  •       Loss of appetite
  •       Fever
  •       Unexplained weight loss

It is not uncommon for rare forms of cancer to be misdiagnosed while valuable time is wasted searching for the correct diagnosis.  If you are having doubts regarding a diagnosis and would like assistance in securing an expert opinion consider seeking the guidance of a private medical advocate.  How a Private Advocate can help

Fortunately mesothelioma in children is rare; however, it is a tragic illness without a clear answer as to how and why children are affected.  The limited number of cases makes research difficult, however, it is only through research that we will uncover the risks and better treatments for adults and children.   To Learn More about Mesothelioma