The mesothelioma diagnosis of a 21-year-old from Norwood, Massachusetts proves that asbestos exposure affects people of all ages. The average age of people suffering from mesothelioma cancer is steadily dropping, as more teens and young adults are being diagnosed with the deadly disease. Any amount of asbestos exposure poses a health risk, and in many cases, mesothelioma symptoms are not identified until it is too late for effective treatment.
As the Boston Globe reports, Kevin Morrison is one of the latest young adults struggling to deal with mesothelioma cancer. Before graduating from Norwood High School in 2008, Kevin appeared strong and healthy, leading his football and hockey teams to multiple victories as team captain. His life forever changed in February of 2011, when doctors diagnosed the 21-year-old with peritoneal mesothelioma. This rare form of cancer affects less than 500 people in the United States each year, accounting for about 20 percent of all mesothelioma cases. It affects the lining of the abdomen, resulting in serious stomach, chest, or abdominal pain.
Although it is unclear how Kevin contracted mesothelioma, our Chicago asbestos lawyers know that peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by exposure to dangerous asbestos, commonly found in many industrial materials and construction products. Asbestos exposure was routinely present in certain working environments, such as steel mills and naval ship yards. But even those who never came into direct contact with toxic asbestos fibers are still being diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by environmental exposure. Infants and children exposed to asbestos can develop mesothelioma early on, although the symptoms may not be detected until much later on in life.
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In Kevin’s case, doctors detected the deadly mesothelioma disease at an early stage, and determined that alternative medical treatments were necessary to give Kevin a fighting chance to combat the disease. Unfortunately, these alternative treatments are not available in the Boston area and they are not covered by insurance. Like many mesothelioma victims around the country, medical expenses have depleted the family’s finances. The Norwood community is holding a fundraiser later this month to raise money to help the young cancer victim.
It is rare for doctors to recognize mesothelioma symptoms right away. Research shows more than half of all asbestos diseases are not immediately attended to, and by the time preventative measures are taken, it is too late to control the spread of cancer throughout the body. The cancer commonly forms around the lungs or chest wall or in the abdominal cavity, and spreads rapidly in both young and old people alike. Early warning signs include frequent coughing, fatigue, and chest pains. Sadly, the life expectancy of mesothelioma patients is limited to less than two years, even when medical procedures are performed.
Although people over the age of 40 are more likely to be diagnosed with a mesothelioma-related illness, a new record is being reached by young people suffering from deadly asbestos diseases. The tragic case of Kevin Morrison, a former high-school athlete coping with the devastating illness just a few years after graduation, highlights the asbestos exposure risk young people face. Mesothelioma and asbestos-related illnesses happen to people of all ages, and victims may be eligible for financial compensation if they were harmfully exposed to asbestos in the environment or in the workplace.