Mesothelioma advice should be sought from a reputable and experienced lawyer, if a victim of asbestos exposure wants to learn more about potential compensation procedures.
Mesothelioma is a rather rare cancerous disease that primarily affects the lining of the lungs, but can also develop in other areas, such as near the heart and in the abdominal cavity. About 3% of all new cancer diagnoses account for mesothelioma in the United States per year. Men get diagnosed four times more often than women.
All forms of mesothelioma are fatal, accept for the benign variant. The average life expectancy is between 12-16 months after diagnosis.
The prognosis of mesothelioma is strongly dependent on the stage of the cancer as well as the general health of the patient. Mesothelioma is exclusively linked to asbestos exposure. When the toxic asbestos fibers get airborne, and therefore inhaled or ingested by a person on site or in close proximity, they may get lodged in the mesothelium, which is very thin lining that surrounds the lungs. This can result in inflammations that may later trigger the development of more severe diseases including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestos is a mineral that occurs in nature. It was liberally used for over 100 years in a variety of different building industries and therefore found its way into many homes and public buildings. After the hazards of asbestos exposure became more known to the public in the 70s, the use of products containing this material has declined significantly.
There are five types of mesothelioma:
- Benign mesothelioma: a non-cancerous variation of the disease.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma: accounts for approximately 20% of all reported cases, and primarily affects the abdominal cavity.
- Pleural mesothelioma: a malignant variant and also the most common form. Roughly 75% of all diagnoses fall into this category
- Pericardial mesothelioma: 5% of the mesothelioma victims develop this form which originates on the pericardium, a thin lining that embeds the heart
- Testicular mesothelioma: this is a very rarest variation.
The symptoms of mesothelioma frequently resemble those of less severe health conditions and can include: shortness of breath, difficulties breathing, loss of appetite and weight loss, abdominal swelling, nausea, chest pain, abdominal pain, etc. As the signs and symptoms may not surface for years or decades after the initial contact with asbestos, a conclusive diagnosis is often being made at a very late and progressed stage of the cancer.