Almost all cases of mesothelioma are related to past asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma can occur following brief or intermittent exposure to asbestos but is more often associated with at least moderate exposure.
There is generally a long latency period between the time the individual was exposed to asbestos and the subsequent diagnosis of mesothelioma. Generally, this latency period is about 30-40 years however shorter and longer latency periods do occur.
Mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer, with about 600 Australians each year being diagnosed with this condition. Just because you have been exposed to asbestos does not necessarily mean that you will contract mesothelioma.