What is mesothelioma?
If you are wondering about mesothelioma, you need to know that it is perhaps one of the most, if not the most deadly forms of cancer. The mortality rate is very high in those who are diagnosed with it and therefore they and their families often seek legal recourse against those responsible.
It is the cancer of mesothelium tissues, which line several internal human organs like the lungs, heart, abdomen and testicles. The tissues create a fluid which enables the organs to move. An example of this would be movement of the lungs inside the chest when breathing. Once the mesothelium tissue of that particular organ is affected, the organ, over a period of time, stops working properly causing death in a majority of the cases.
Cancers, in general, are started when the cells or tissues start to grow abnormally. The affected cell’s DNA is mutated, causing it to multiply and grow beyond a specific number. What is however not known is that what causes the cell or tissue to get affected in the first place. Therefore, initial cause or causes of many forms of cancers remain unknown, however in the case of mesothelioma this much is known that asbestos exposure is one of the main risk factors in the development of cancer.
What causes mesothelioma?
Some research organizations have concluded that even long periods of exposure to asbestos may not cause mesothelioma while other equally reputable organizations have concluded the exact opposite. Whatever the case may be, they both agree that exposure to asbestos fibers is one of the main causes of mesothelioma.
So what is asbestos? You need to know that asbestos is not some artificially manufactured substance but a set of naturally occurring minerals with some “magical” properties or commercial uses, as some might say. Before asbestos was discovered to be responsible for mesothelioma, its products were freely used in the housing industry like insulation materials, etc. It is worth mentioning here that asbestos is highly resistant to heat and chemicals and therefore serves as a great insulating material. Asbestos products have further been used in the locomotive industry as well.
The “magical” properties of asbestos can be a double-edged sword though. Asbestos particles are microscopic in size and cannot be seen with a naked eye. During the asbestos mining or break up process, these particles may get airborne, making you inhale them without even knowing. While some of them you may cough out, others may stay inside, travelling into the lungs, settling down and scarring the mesothelium tissues, ultimately causing cancer.
If you are diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition like mesothelioma, you might want to consult an asbestos lawyer to discuss the merits of your case against those who manufacture asbestos products, etc.
The only good news on mesothelioma is that it is rare; about 3,000 new diagnoses each year. Some of its types are even rarer. However, those diagnosed with it are likely to be diagnosed with Pleural mesothelioma which is mesothelioma of the lungs. There is also Peritoneal mesothelioma which is mesothelioma of the abdomen. Some other types of this condistion are mesotheliomas of the tunica vaginalis (mesothelioma of testicles) or Pericardial mesothelioma (mesothelioma of the heart).
Since mesothelioma of the lungs is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer, therefore if you or someone you know has experienced the following set of signs or symptoms, you might want to consult your health care professional:
- Swelling of the face and arms
- Trouble swallowing
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the lower back or at the side of the chest
You may further want to consult your health care professional for the following symptoms as they are the signs of someone with mesothelioma of the abdomen:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Swelling or fluid in the abdomen
- Abdominal pains
Who may be diagnosed with mesothelioma?
The cancer may be rare yet it is found mostly among those who are in the following professions:
- Railroad workers
- Pipe fitters
- Navy personnel
- Merchant marine seamen
- Mason laborers
- Foundry workers
- Drywall tapers
- Construction workers
- Cement finishers
- Bulldozer operators
- Brake mechanics
- Auto mechanics
Mesothelioma demographics and survival statistics
You need to know that this deadly form of cancer is found more in men than in women. It is more common in Latinos/Hispanics and whites than in African Americans and Asian Americans.
The reason why mesothelioma is fatal is because by the time it is diagnosed it is already in its advanced stages and cannot be treated through surgery. There is no unanimity among researchers on the average survival time for those diagnosed with mesothelioma but according to one study, the average survival time may be between 4 to 18 months. Since studies on this subject are not conclusive therefore do not be surprised if a mesothelioma patient lives longer. About 5% to 10% mesothelioma patients may live for at least five years after being diagnosed. However, this percentage may further go up if a person is young and diagnosed earlier.
What does a mesothelioma attorney do?
As mentioned earlier, mesothelioma patients have a high mortality rate, therefore those diagnosed with it and their families have often sued those who exposed them to asbestos particles in the first place like the asbestos manufacturer(s) or employers who used asbestos products at workplace without telling their employees the risks associated. Most of the cases, however, do not get to the trial stage, especially the moment it is established that exposure to asbestos caused the ailment. Mesothelioma patients and in some cases their families have won hefty amounts in the form of compensation.
A mesothelioma attorney, regardless of the fact that the case may not get to the trial stage, prepares the case as if it was going to a trial. Client’s personal and medical history is examined thoroughly, since medical records form the backbone of most of the plaintiff’s case. The attorney may further try to file a case in a state where the laws are likely to favor the client than the defendant(s). All in all, you may like to consult a mesothelioma attorney to know the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
Since most of the mesothelioma cases get settled outside of a court, therefore asbestos manufacturers have formed mesothelioma claims funds, out of which mesothelioma claims are settled.