What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a tumor that starts in the mesothelium, the lining of certain internal organs. An estimated 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in the U.S. The disease occurs more often in men, and the average age of diagnosis is 69. The disease has been linked to exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma can be either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Malignant mesotheliomas are caused by asbestos exposure. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk, although experts believe there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. The onset of the disease can take anywhere from 15 to 50 years. These cancers usually prove deadly within 12 to 24 months after diagnosis.
Mesothelioma was rare before the commercial use of asbestos. In recent years, diagnoses of mesothelioma has leveled off and even decreased. This decrease is likely related to efforts over time to reduce workplace asbestos exposure.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a fibrous, fire resistant mineral that has been widely used in many industrial products including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles and insulation. It can also be found in talc, including talcum powders used for personal hygiene, baby powders, and talc-containing cosmetics.
Millions of people may have been exposed to asbestos, especially in the workplace, including miners, factory workers, insulation manufacturers and installers, railroad and automotive works, ship builders, gas mask manufacturers, plumbers, and construction workers.
Family members of people who work in environments where they are exposed to asbestos can also be at risk for secondary asbestos exposure, because the fibers can adhere to workers’ clothes and be carried home. For example, washing the clothes of someone who works around asbestos increases that person’s risk of developing mesothelioma.
Early mesothelioma symptoms are often mistaken for common, minor ailments and, as a result, most people with the disease have symptoms for at least a few months before they are diagnosed.
Symptoms vary depending on where the cancer originates, and can include heart failure after heart attack; pain in the side of the chest, lower back or abdomen; swelling in the abdomen, face or arms; shortness of breath; coughing; fever; difficulty swallowing; fatigue; nausea and vomiting; excessive sweating; and unexplained weight loss.
These symptoms can be caused by other conditions. If you have experienced these symptoms – especially if you have been exposed to asbestos – you should talk to your doctor right away so that the cause can be identified and the condition treated.
Types of mesothelioma
There are four types of mesothelioma. All have been linked to asbestos exposure.
- Pleural mesotheliomas affect the pleura, or lining that coats the lungs and chest wall, and account for about 75 percent of all cases of mesothelioma. Most asbestos-related mesotheliomas are pleural mesotheliomas.
- Peritoneal mesotheliomas involve the peritoneum, which lines the inside of the abdomen and many of the abdominal organs. The remaining 25 percent of mesothelioma diagnoses are peritoneal mesotheliomas.
- Pericardial mesotheliomas develop in the lining around the heart, and are extremely rare.
- Tunica vaginalis mesotheliomas affect the sac surrounding the testicles, and is also extremely rare.
In addition to mesothelioma, asbestos exposure increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a noncancerous, chronic lung ailment), and other cancers including those of the larynx and kidney.
We understand that your number-one priority is your mesothelioma treatment, and we will never do anything to interfere with that. We also understand that legal action is not appropriate for everyone. Unfortunately, however, our experience shows that all too often these giant corporations are choosing profits over people and until they are forced to pay they will continue on with their blatant disregard for the health and well being of their employees and their consumers.
An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you navigate a complex mesothelioma lawsuit to help ensure adequate compensation. At Beasley Allen, our team of mesothelioma attorneys and support staff understand that mesothelioma is a devastating cancer that harms many families each year. We also understand that your mesothelioma lawyer must do more than just handle the claim on your behalf. We want to help your family make it through a very difficult time and we want to make certain the manufacturers of these unsafe asbestos products compensate you fairly.
If your loved one has suffered a serious injury or death as a result of asbestos exposure or mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages, and pain and suffering. Please contact our mesothelioma lawyers today by filling out the brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number (800-898-2034) for a free, no-cost, no-obligation legal evaluation of your case.