Mesothelioma cancer is a rare cancer that is caused mainly by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is the rarest but also the most dangerous disease related to asbestos exposure, and up to 3,000 Americans face a mesothelioma diagnosis every year.
How Mesothelioma Works
Mesothelioma cancer affects the cells that comprise the lining of vital organs such as the lungs, the heart, and the abdomen. This cancer causes lining cells, known as mesothelia, to divide at an abnormally fast rate. This rapid mesothelial cell regeneration leads to the buildup of scar tissue, fluid, and tumors that compromise organ function and can lead to the death of the patient.
Cause of Mesothelioma Cancer
Exposure to asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos is a mineral commonly used as an insulator and binding agent in industrial, commercial, and residential products and equipment. Though the dangers of asbestos exposure and the resulting asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis have been documented for more than a century, products containing asbestos are still on the market in the United States today.
More than 80 percent of mesothelioma and asbestosis patients were exposed to asbestos on the job. This occupational exposure to asbestos, when industry clearly knew of the dangers associated with the material, has been the basis for thousands of asbestos lawsuits.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
The most common form of mesothelioma cancer is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs. Symptoms of mesothelioma are often compared to symptoms of the flu or a common cold. These pleural mesothelioma symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or lower back pain
- Persistent, dry cough
- Difficulty swallowing
Diagnosis of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma cancer has an unusually long latency period, which means that patients may not be diagnosed with the disease for as long as 5 decades after they were last exposed to asbestos. After careful evaluation, a variety of tests are necessary to correctly diagnose mesothelioma. Some of these clinical and radiological tests include a complete physical examination, including the patient’s medical history and history of asbestos exposure, x-rays, lung function tests, CT scan, MRI, and sometimes a tissue or fluid biopsy.
Treatment of Mesothelioma Cancer
If mesothelioma is caught early enough, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation may all help extend the patient’s prognosis. To learn more about the different forms of mesothelioma treatment, visit our page dedicated to the mesothelioma treatment.
Types of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma Cancer can affect different parts of the body. There are four types of mesothelioma:
- Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs, is the most common form of the disease. Roughly 75 percent of mesothelioma patients have pleural mesothelioma.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects about 20 to 30 percent of mesothelioma patients, is concentrated in the abdominal area.
- Pericardial mesothelioma attacks the cells of the lining of the heart, known as the pericardium. Only about 5 percent of mesothelioma patients have pericardial mesothelioma.
- Testicular mesothelioma (a form of peritoneal mesothelioma) is by far the rarest form of the disease, affecting fewer than 100 patients in the last 20 years.
For detailed information about each of the types of mesothelioma, you are encouraged to visit the page we have dedicated to this topic.
In most cases, people contract mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos on the job, where there were asbestos containing products in use. In other cases, people may be exposed to asbestos through a loved one who was in occupational contact with the mineral. These mesothelioma patients and their families are legally entitled to file suit, demanding that negligent parties are held accountable for their blatant disregard for the health of their employees, clients, tenants, and the American public. While no amount of money can compensate for compromised health or the loss of a loved one, victims and their families can collect compensation for such damages as pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and end of life costs.
Contact a Respected Mesothelioma Attorney
The tragedy of a mesothelioma diagnosis is only worsened by the knowledge that this is an entirely preventable disease. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the mesothelioma attorneys at Shrader & Associates L.L.P. understand the tremendous physical, emotional and financial difficulties you have been burdened with. We have dedicated our careers to ensuring that the parties behind asbestos exposure pay for their negligence.
For more information on mesothelioma and the legal options available to mesothelioma victims and their survivors, we encourage you to contact us. We serve clients nationwide.
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