Mesothelioma & Children

Mesothelioma is often thought to be a disease that is only possible in older adults. While it is rare in children, it is still a growing problem. Most troubling is that in many cases of childhood mesothelioma, the leading cause (asbestos exposure) is not present.

Symptoms of mesothelioma in children include:

  • Pleural effusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain episodes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss

What Causes Mesothelioma in Children?

Some risk factors of pediatric mesothelioma have been identified. Children are not at risk for occupational exposure to asbestos, which is the main risk factor in adults. But children might breathe in asbestos in the environment or encounter secondhand exposure, especially if a parent is regularly exposed. It typically takes years of exposure to asbestos to experience mesothelioma, even though asbestos can be found in schools, in the environment, and in some toys (such as chalk and modeling clay).

It is possible that the majority of cases of mesothelioma in children are a result of spontaneity. Other possible causes include:

  • Radiation exposure
  • Exposure to some drugs in utero
  • Genetic predisposition

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer and can develop even more quickly in children than it does in older adults. Because of the rapid spread of the disease, early detection and diagnosis is very important.

Visit the Number One Mesothelioma Resource to learn more. is a comprehensive information resource on mesothelioma cancer, a rare cancer most commonly developing in the lining of the lungs, and caused by asbestos. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for mesothelioma. While it’s treatable, it’s more commonly detected in later stages; leading to a poor prognosis.