Mesothelioma cancer has an extremely long latency period. The term “latency” in a medical context refers to the period of time between the start of a disease and the point at which the symptoms make themselves apparent.

Years or Decades for Mesothelioma Cancer Symptoms

Mesothelioma latency is usually estimated as being roughly 15 to 40 years, although there have been cases in which the mesothelioma cancer latency was as short as five years and as long as 50 years after the exposure to asbestos cancer occurred.

For instance, an emergency medical technician with the City of New York’s fire department died of mesothelioma in early 2006 – about five years after she incurred very heavy asbestos exposure by working as a first responder at the World Trade Center after September 11, 2001.

However, her case is rather unusual in that her work involved breathing in very high levels of airborne asbestos cancer fibers at Ground Zero. Most other mesothelioma cancer patients were subjected to asbestos at somewhat lower levels, but often for much longer periods of times, perhaps decades. Persons who worked in asbestos-heavy jobs such as mining and shipbuilding , or who spent their military service working with asbestos products, have shown latencies that date from the 1940s (World War II years), about 50 years ago.

Dependent on the Asbestos Exposure

In fact, mesothelioma’s latency is dependent in part on which of three groups a patients belongs to:

•  individuals with high levels of exposure of a short duration

•  those with high levels of exposure of long duration

•  those with low levels of exposure of long duration

More Information about Mesothelioma Latency

Find out more about mesothelioma latency and the damage that mesothelioma causes when you contact mesothelioma treatment centers for assistance.

Mesothelioma Latency Period (english) / Estado Latente del Mesotelioma (spanish)