What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that typically develops in the tissue lining (mesothelium) of the lungs or abdomen. In rare cases, tumors can also grow in the linings of the heart or testicles. Mesothelioma takes anywhere from 20-50 years to develop in the body. However, once it begins to spread (metastasize), it does so quickly.
Types of Mesothelioma
- Pleural Mesothelioma: Pleural mesothelioma affects the protective lining that covers the chest cavity and lungs (pleura). It is the most common type of the disease, accounting for 80-90% of all cases.
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma: Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum). It is the second most common form of the disease, affecting 10-20% of all patients.
- Pericardial Mesothelioma: Pericardial tumors form in the pericardium, the lining surrounding the heart. It accounts for less than 1% of all cases.
- Testicular Mesothelioma: Testicular mesothelioma develops in the lining of the testicles (tunica vaginalis). Testicular mesothelioma is extremely rare, and less than 300 cases have been reported.
Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because many doctors have not encountered it and may mistake it for other diseases or illnesses. It is also hard to treat effectively as it is often discovered after it has spread in patients who are elderly. There is no cure for mesothelioma, but medical treatments may extend or improve a patient’s life.
The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos fibers.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a heat-resistant, naturally-occurring mineral. In the 1900s, asbestos was manufactured into various products in cars, insulation, hairdryers and more. It was also used in the military during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
How asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma:
- A product or piece of equipment with asbestos is handled.
- The asbestos fibers in these products are disturbed and released into the air.
- Nearby workers and other individuals inhale or ingest the airborne fibers.
- The fibers become stuck inside the tissue linings of a person’s body.
- Over time, these fibers cause cancerous mesothelioma tumors to grow.
Many companies that made and sold asbestos-containing products hid the deadly truth from Americans. For decades, the general public did not realize that asbestos was dangerous. Their lie has led to a mesothelioma diagnosis in tens of thousands of innocent people.
Next Steps for Mesothelioma Victims
Victims have a better prognosis if they are diagnosed before the disease has spread. It is important for patients to consult doctors and cancer centers that specialize in treating mesothelioma. Treatment plans from a mesothelioma specialist may extend or improve a patient’s life expectancy. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are the most commonly used forms of treatment.
Mesothelioma treatments can be very expensive. Many patients lack the financial resources to afford them. Victims can hire an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to file a legal claim. Filing a legal claim may result in compensation to help pay for medical care.
3 ways a lawyer can help:
- Pursue financial compensation
- Seek justice from asbestos companies
- Protect your family’s future