Almost half of women with malignant mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos at home through their husbands or sons

Dan Med J. 2014 Sep;61(9):A4902.


Introduction: Women often develop malignant mesothelioma (MM) without occupational asbestos exposure. Northern Jutland has a high prevalence of MM due to previously high occupational exposures to asbestos. The aim of this study was to elucidate a possible domestic exposure to asbestos through first-degree relatives in women who develop MM.

Material and methods: This was a retrospective study in women with MM of the pleura. A total of 30 women were diagnosed with and treated for MM in Northern Jutland from 1996 to 2012. In all, 24 women were included. Demographic data, subtype of MM, time from first hospital contact to diagnosis, survival and information on occupational and domestic exposure to asbestos were obtained from hospital records.

Results: A total of 12.5% of the study population were primarily exposed to asbestos. 46% had domestic exposure to asbestos through their husbands or sons. The median age of the study population was 66.5 years. In all, 75% suffered from the epitheloid subtype, 12.5% from the biphasic and 8.4% from the sarcomatoid subtype. Time from first hospital contact to diagnosis was one month and the median survival time was 12 months. The 1- and 5- year-survival were 58% and 0%, respectively.

Conclusion: Nearly 50% of the women affected by MM have been domestically exposed to asbestos through first-degree relatives.

Funding: not relevant.

Trial registration: not relevant.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asbestos / toxicity*
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / diagnosis
  • Mesothelioma / epidemiology
  • Mesothelioma / etiology*
  • Mesothelioma / mortality
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Pleural Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pleural Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spouses
  • Survival Rate


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Asbestos