Mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive and dangerous form of cancer. Nearly all situations of mesothelioma are caused by a person being exposed to asbestos while working. It is such a dangerous form of cancer for two main reasons. It can take decades after asbestos exposure for symptoms to show, and once symptoms are present, it advances very quickly with devastating results. One can take solace in the fact that, already if exposed to asbestos, mesothelioma is nevertheless a fairly scarce disease.
Before it was discovered that those exposed to asbestos while working were at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma, asbestos was widely used in many industries with good reason. A cluster of long, fibrous minerals, asbestos displays many traits that lend themselves well to many applications. These traits include its chemical inertness, resistance to heat & electricity, sound absorption and physical strength. First discovered in the late 1800s, it’s use was extensive until the 1980s, when countries began to legislate against its use in nearly all applications. It is nevertheless slightly of a mystery as to the exact action on human tissue which causes asbestos to influence cancerous growth.
Depending on the specific kind of mesothelioma, cancerous cells will begin to grow in the lining of different organs or organ groups. When these cells reach a certain amount, they can increase the amount of fluid produced by these membranes, resulting in a number of general symptoms. When present in the pericardium, the lining of the heart, symptoms can include chest pain, and sensations similar to palpitations. When present in the pleura, the membrane surrounding the lungs, symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain and dry coughing are often present. A cancerous growth in the peritoneal membrane, the lining of the abdominal organs, can consequence in nausea, loss of appetite, bowel obstruction and abdominal pain. If allowed to progress untreated, the cancer will generally spread to nearby areas on the effected membrane, then to the lymph nodes, and finally to organs away from the point of origin.
After mesothelioma is suspected, a doctor will typically run a series of screenings to eliminate or more firmly cement the possibility. These can include CAT scans, MRI, and X-Rays. Next, a biopsy will be performed, and if mesothelioma is confirmed, the doctor will determine how progressive the cancer is. Beyond stage I, it is often extremely difficult to control the disease.
There are several options obtainable for compensation if one has been exposed to asbestos while working and consequently developed mesothelioma. Class action lawsuits are one such option. Another route for compensation is to litigate as an individual. For families who have lost someone to mesothelioma, wrongful death lawsuits are often an option. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is imperative to retain an attorney as soon as possible, as many states have limitations on how long you have to begin litigation.