Have you heard that mesothelioma is contagious?
There are many misconceptions about mesothelioma and one is that the disease is contagious. No cancer is contagious.
Some cancers can occur because of a hereditary predisposition but mesothelioma has not been shown to have a hereditary component.
The reason that this myth persists, though, is because sometimes more than one family member will develop mesothelioma.
We’ll take a look at how this can happen and why contagion is not a factor.
In case you missed it, check out our series on asbestos myths here.
How does mesothelioma develop?
Most mesothelioma cases are caused by asbestos exposure. But unlike other illnesses, cancer cannot spread person to person. Even if you have contact with blood or bodily fluids from a mesothelioma patient, you cannot contract the disease this way.
Most people who develop mesothelioma were exposed on the job decades prior to their diagnosis. Mesothelioma has a long latency period between asbestos exposure and development of the cancer.
Where does asbestos exposure occur?
Most cases of mesothelioma are caused by on-the-job exposure to asbestos, typically in a high-risk industry like construction, mining, auto repair, fire-fighting, Navy or marine careers. In some cases, people have developed mesothelioma as a result of environmental exposure which occurs when asbestos is around you.
This can be due to living near an asbestos mine or processing facility or attending school or working in a building where asbestos is present.
How do family members end up with mesothelioma if it’s not contagious?
When you hear about people in the same home or family that are diagnosed with a serious illness, you may automatically think of contagion. But with mesothelioma, that’s not the underlying cause.
If family members both develop mesothelioma, there are a few likely reasons. The first is if the two worked together and were both exposed to asbestos on-the-job. The second is that both had environmental exposure. The third explanation is second-hand exposure.
What is second-hand asbestos exposure?
Second-hand asbestos exposure occurs when someone with direct exposure unintentionally exposes someone else. For instance, if a construction worker worked with asbestos and had the microscopic fibers on their clothes, then hugging their family could result in second-hand exposure. If their wife laundered their asbestos-laden clothing, that could result in
If their wife laundered their asbestos-laden clothing, that could result in second-hand exposure. Even without direct exposure, mesothelioma can result from second-hand asbestos.
Is there any chance mesothelioma is contagious?
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, there is no chance that it was “caught” from someone else. Mesothelioma cancer is almost always caused by asbestos exposure and the effect of these microscopic fibers on the body’s tissues.
Asbestos is also not “contagious” but can be spread by contact with a person who has the fibers on them. But this is not a contagion – it’s exposure to the substance that itself causes the illness.
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma, contact Bergman Draper Ladenburg for help. We have won significant settlements for mesothelioma victims, including those who were made ill by second-hand exposure to asbestos.
We have won more than $600 million for our clients and are ready to fight for your rights. We accept cases from all over the US and are our practice is solely devoted to mesothelioma so we have the expertise you need to get the best results for your claim. Contact us at (888) 647-6007 or click here for a free case evaluation.