National Asbestos Awareness Week Reminds that Peritoneal Mesothelioma is Health Issue Affecting Women, Not Just Men – Weitz & Luxenberg

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Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare cancer. It claims the lives of far more adult males than females. Even so, the law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg views it as a women’s health issue deserving of prominence and action.

People mistakenly think this is just a men’s health issue because the victims come from traditionally male-dominated trades.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a women’s health issue, this despite the fact that the rare cancer each year claims far more adult male than female lives, the mass-torts and personal-injury litigation law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, PC, today said in a statement marking National Asbestos Awareness Week.

“Women account for as many as one in five mesothelioma deaths,” said Frank M. Ortiz, Esq., a top litigator and mesothelioma lawyer with New York-based Weitz & Luxenberg. “The fact that it affects women at all makes it a women’s health issue deserving of prominence and action.”

Peritoneal mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that invades the protective lining of the abdomen and pelvis, and it usually attacks years after exposure to the toxic industrial mineral asbestos, Ortiz explained.

“People mistakenly think this is just a men’s health issue because the victims come from traditionally male-dominated trades,” Ortiz said. “But there are reasons it affects women too. For example, a man employed as a car mechanic who works on brakes might by the end of the day be covered from head to toe in asbestos dust because brake components use asbestos. That night, his wife might shake off his shop uniform before laundering it and, in so doing, come into contact with the lethal dust, now thick in the room’s air. Two or three or four decades later, she’s diagnosed with mesothelioma.”

Ortiz cited statistics suggesting that as many as 1 of every 20 workers exposed to asbestos develops mesothelioma. In the U.S., that translates to as many as 3,000 new cases of the disease annually, he said, noting that the peritoneal variety accounts for about one-third of all mesotheliomas.

Asbestos Awareness Week, which began April 1, is an occasion of special importance to Weitz & Luxenberg because the firm represents so many asbestos exposure victims who develop peritoneal mesothelioma.

Meanwhile, Ortiz expressed cautious optimism that strides have been made toward better treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma. “Doctors now have a bigger arsenal of treatment options at their disposal,” he said. “These include surgery, radiation, and both systemic and targeted chemotherapy. Even so, peritoneal mesothelioma almost always ends in death. The victim usually dies within a year after first symptoms. However, with these improved treatments, patients are living longer, although how much longer depends in part on whether treatment begins early enough to slow the progress of the disease.”

Asbestos is a mineral coveted since the 19th Century as an insulating material. Its use expanded during the 20th Century but fell off after the 1980s when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began banning new uses of the carcinogenic substance, according to Ortiz.

“Despite EPA efforts to deal with asbestos, the mineral continues to be used in many commercial, industrial, structural and consumer applications and, of course, the latent effects of past asbestos exposures will be felt by victims for years to come,” Ortiz said.


About Weitz & Luxenberg:

Founded in 1986 by attorneys Perry Weitz and Arthur Luxenberg, Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., today ranks among the nation’s leading law firms. Weitz & Luxenberg has secured more than $6.5 billion in verdicts and settlements for its clients. The firm's numerous practice areas include: asbestos and mesothelioma, defective medicines and devices, environmental pollutants, accidents, personal injury, and medical malpractice. Victims of accidents are invited to rely on Weitz & Luxenberg’s more than 25 years of handling such cases – begin by contacting the firm’s Client Relations department at 1-800-476-6070 or at and ask for a free legal consultation. More information:

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Dave Kufeld
Weitz & Luxenberg P.C.
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