Asbestos fibers are extremely dangerous when released into the air. When asbestos is inhaled or swallowed, the fibers become embedded deep in the body’s tissues, leading to serious illnesses like malignant mesothelioma.
Malignant Mesothelioma Explained
Also known simply as mesothelioma, malignant mesothelioma is a cancer that forms in the membrane that covers internal organs like the lungs and heart and forms a lining around the chest (pleura), the abdomen (peritoneum), and the area around the heart (pericardium).
Malignant mesothelioma tumors are generally classified into three types:
- Epithelioid tumors make up 50% to 70% of malignant mesotheliomas and have the best prognosis.
- Sarcomatoid tumors make up 7% to 20% of malignant mesotheliomas.
- Mixed/biphasic tumors make up 20% to 35% of malignant mesotheliomas.
Malignant Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Malignant mesothelioma is usually diagnosed only when symptoms appear—often many years after the asbestos exposure. Because the symptoms of malignant mesothelioma are similar to other common illnesses, the patient may ignore them for months, delaying the diagnosis even further.
Early symptoms of malignant mesothelioma may include:
- Coughing up blood
- Pain in the lower back, side, or abdomen
- Weight loss
- Weakness or fatigue
- Fluid in the chest or abdomen
If you have been exposed to asbestos and you experience any of these symptoms, let your doctor know. To diagnose malignant mesothelioma, your doctor may take your medical history, perform a physical examination, conduct diagnostic imaging studies, and analyze fluid and tissue samples.
Malignant Mesothelioma Staging and Treatment
Without early detection, the prognosis for malignant mesothelioma is poor, and treatment options are limited. Your doctor will determine the stage of your tumor based on its size, whether it has spread to nearby nodes or distant areas of your body, and whether or not it can be removed by surgery. Once the tumor’s stage is known, your doctor will also consider factors like your age, weight, and general health in recommending malignant mesothelioma treatments such as:
- Experimental therapies, such as immunotherapy
- Holistic therapies, such as yoga or dietary changes
If you have malignant mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation for the asbestos exposure that caused your illness. Keep in mind that the time to file a claim is restricted by statutes of limitations, however. To see if a mesothelioma lawyer can help you get compensation, call Sokolove Law today at 1-888-360-4215.