Men account for over 75% of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma due to a greater likelihood of occupational or military exposure to asbestos. This means that little research is done to analyze how mesothelioma affects women. Mesothelioma gender analysis findings indicate that although mesothelioma is more common in the male population, women tend to live longer. Women are also far less likely to seek compensation.

Mesothelioma Rates by Gender

Mesothelioma is more common in men than in women. In fact, over 75% of mesothelioma patients are male. There are several reasons for this according to mesothelioma gender analysis reports that have come out around the world over the last several decades.

Quick facts about mesothelioma rates by gender:

  • Around 75% of patients are male and 25% are female
  • Men have a higher rate of developing mesothelioma due to working in industrial and military settings
  • The annual rate of mesothelioma cases in the United States is 14 cases per million men and 3 cases per million women
  • Women with mesothelioma are three times more likely to have better long-term survival
  • Women with occupational exposure often worked in the chemical and plastic industries
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A study conducted in Denmark found that far more women had secondary asbestos exposure than men. Secondary exposure can occur if asbestos fibers are carried home on the clothes, skin, and hair of a loved one.

Geographic Locations With Higher Mesothelioma Rates in Women

There are also mesothelioma gender analysis findings that suggest certain geographic locations have higher mesothelioma rates in women.

A wide-scale Italian study reported that Italy has one of the highest rates of asbestos-related diseases due to the massive use of asbestos until it was banned in 1992. The country also has a higher proportion of mesothelioma diagnoses in women.

“The consistent proportion of mesothelioma cases in women in Italy is mainly due to the relevant role of non-occupational asbestos exposures and the historical presence of the female workforce in several industrial settings.”

-National Institutes for Health

Other mesothelioma gender analysis studies found a high proportion of female mesothelioma deaths in Turkey, some South American countries, and some Eastern European countries.

Mesothelioma Prognosis by Gender

A study from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database analyzed 1,475 malignant mesothelioma cases from 1973 to 1984. The study found that females were associated with longer survival rates.

“Even when adjusted for age, stage, race, and treatment, female MPM patients experienced longer survival than men.”

-The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

Women generally have a better prognosis than men because they tend to be diagnosed earlier. Women also usually have less direct exposure to asbestos.

Males aged 50 years or older that have advanced stage malignant mesothelioma generally have the poorest prognosis.

Some additional mesothelioma gender analysis findings include:

  • In a study of 14,228 cases of mesothelioma, in which 22% were women, the 5-year survival rate in women was 13.4% versus 4.5% in men
  • There is a higher presence of papillary epithelial mesothelioma in women than in men. This type is not as aggressive and can lead to a better prognosis
  • Older men with epithelial mesothelioma had significantly worse survival than younger men

While mesothelioma gender analysis reports seem to favor women for longer survival, additional factors must still be analyzed. These factors include the type of asbestos exposure, the biology of the tumor, and hormonal impact.

More studies focusing on gender analysis can help lead to an improved survival rate for both genders.

Differences in How Each Gender Seeks Mesothelioma Treatment

Women are far less likely to develop mesothelioma than men and are less likely to seek compensation.

Mesothelioma gender analysis studies show a marked difference in how each gender handles a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Some highlights of the differences are:

  • How treatment will affect a patient’s family is a key factor in decision making
  • Male and female patients alike may prefer to get support form single-sex support groups
  • Priorities of male mesothelioma patients are often influenced by financial responsibilities
  • Societal norms about gender may impact how patients approach their diagnoses

An article published by the European Journal of Oncology Nursing found that there are three key themes in analyzing how each gender approaches a mesothelioma diagnosis.

The themes of the three frameworks are:

  • Family responsibility and social perception
  • Support needs and coping
  • Treatment and trial choices

Mesothelioma patients’ roles within their families greatly influence their choices and preferences. Though not to be oversimplified, this can be articulated in how male and female patients responded to interview questions from the study.

A common theme in female patients was worrying about their families emotional well-being:

“I think they’ve [her husband and sons] been through enough. And I just keep going on my own way. I used to say to them I’m going back into a trial, don’t worry about me. I fought it before and I’ll fight it again.”

-Female respondent

Responses from male patients tended to show protection of the family in more instrumental ways. This includes getting finances in order to ensure their spouses would have enough money after they have passed away.

Male patients were also more likely to pursue compensation:

“I deserve that and I should have that and I want as much as possible. And the reason I want that is, not for me to spend because I’ve got enough myself, but for when I’m not here that the family is well catered for.”

-Male respondent

Mesothelioma gender analysis findings around seeking compensation for a mesothelioma diagnosis demonstrate disparities in men and women. Although women are far less likely to develop mesothelioma than men are, they are also far less likely to seek compensation.

“In Italy, the relative risk of not seeking compensation for women suffering from mesothelioma of occupational origin has been estimated significantly higher with respect to men.”

-Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Regardless of gender, all mesothelioma patients may be entitled to compensation. This money can help protect loved ones in the future.

Our knowledgeable Patient Advocates understand how gender can impact both the approach to treatment and the likelihood of seeking compensation. If you would like to discuss getting the money and treatment you deserve, contact us today.

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Laura WrightWritten by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 15 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

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  2. Ejegi-Memeh, S., Robertson, S., Taylor, B., Darlison, L. & Tod, A. (2021). Gender and the experiences of living with mesothelioma: A thematic analysis. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, Volume 52. Retrieved May 19, 2021 from

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  4. Panou, V., Moller Weinreich, U., Bak, J., Vyberg, M., Meristoudis, C., et al. (2017). Gender differences in asbestos exposure and disease location in 327 patients with mesothelioma. European Respiratory Journal Sep 2017, 50 (suppl 61) PA4294. Retrieved May 19, 2021 from

  5. Taioli, E., Wolf, A. S., Camacho-Rivera, M., & Flores, R. M. (2014). Women with malignant pleural mesothelioma have a threefold better survival rate than men. The Annals of thoracic surgery, 98(3), 1020–1024. Retrieved May 19, 2021 from

  6. Wolf, A., Richards, W., Tilleman, Chirieac, L., Hurwitz, S., Bueno, R., & Sugarbaker, D. (2010). Characteristics of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in Women. Annals of Thoracic Surgery. Retrieved May 19, 2021 from

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