French Study: Later Asbestos Exposure Reduces Risk of Mesothelioma

A study recently published by French researchers in the European Respiratory Journal found that when people are exposed to asbestos later in life they have a lower risk of developing mesothelioma than people who were exposed at an earlier age.

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer, and the main cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Roughly 2,000 to 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year.

In the study, the cases of 2,466 men were monitored over a 20-year period, from 1987 to 2006. According to the researchers, individuals who were exposed to asbestos after the age of 20 are at a lower risk for developing pleural mesothelioma than subjects who were exposed later in life. Researchers also made considerations according to the intensity and length of asbestos exposure. This risk level increased until roughly 30 years after an individual’s exposure to asbestos ended.

Researchers also found that when the age of first exposure to asbestos increased, the effect of the duration of asbestos exposure decreased. Thus, asbestos exposure is found to have a smaller effect on people who are exposed at a later age.

Data for this study was gathered from separate reports by the French network of cancer registries and the French National Mesothelioma Surveillance Program.

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