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Can you be more susceptible to mesothelioma than others?

Apr 21, 2021 | Mesothelioma

If you suspect your mesothelioma is due to a previous job, you might contact former colleagues to ask if they have symptoms. If they say they do not, does that mean your asbestos exposure took place elsewhere?

Not necessarily. Diseases don’t always affect everybody the same way.

Some people are genetically predisposed to mesothelioma

A recent study found that some people are more likely to get mesothelioma than others due to their genetic makeup. The research suggests people who have heterozygous germline BLM mutations are more likely to get mesothelioma.

What is a heterozygous germline BLM mutation?

It means that you received two different forms of the BLM gene at the moment of conception, one from your father and one from your mother. BLM is the name scientists give to one particular gene of the thousands we have. Genes carry the instructions from our parents to make a new person — us.  A gene can be homozygous, which means we get the same form from our mother and father. Or heterozygous, meaning we get different forms from each parent. A mutation means there has been a change from the standard form of the gene.

What other factors affect the chance of mesothelioma?

Genetics is not the only reason that could explain why you have mesothelioma, and your workmate does not. Here are some other factors:

  • How much asbestos exposure you experienced
  • How long you were exposed to the asbestos
  • How close you were to the asbestos
  • The makeup of the asbestos to which you were exposed
  • Other health factors, such as whether you smoked

A genetic disposition to mesothelioma does not rule out claiming compensation from a former employer. If they had not exposed you to asbestos, you might still be healthy today.