Malignant pleural mesothelioma generally begins as a tumor on one side of the chest, only spreading to the other side as the disease progresses. However, many of the symptoms and complications can affect both lungs.
According to the American Cancer Society, malignant mesothelioma generally starts to develop in the pleura lining of the chest wall on only one side of the chest. As the disease progresses, it spreads to the thin layer of pleura coating the lung itself. It can also spread to pleura on the diaphragm and mediastinum.
In the last stages of the disease, the cancer spreads across to affect the pleura that lines the lung and chest wall on the opposite side of the chest.
Inhaled Asbestos Fibers Cause Mesothelioma
Small and thin, asbestos fibers easily make their way into the lungs after inhalation. They penetrate the lung tissue so deeply that many of them end up in the outer lining of the lung, the pleura. These fibers cause irritation and inflammation. Over time, these conditions can lead to tumor nodules on the lining of the chest wall and lungs.
It takes decades following exposure to asbestos to develop mesothelioma or another asbestos-related cancer. Then, the cancer can grow without interference for a time, because these cancers are generally asymptomatic until they metastasize. Most people do not receive a mesothelioma diagnosis until it has spread to the other side of their chest and affects both lungs or until it affects other organs.
Once mesothelioma spreads to other areas within your chest, patients may find it difficult to take a full breath, and they may experience severe pain from pleural effusion, as well as other symptoms that affect both lungs.
Mesothelioma Generally Spreads Locally Instead of to Distant Areas of the Body
While many other cancers grow in the lung tissue itself, mesothelioma grows on the surface of the chest wall and the lungs. The disease invades other organs only during its final stages, with distant metastases rarely developing. Cancerous nodules cover the affected areas, and fluid may accumulate in the pleural space between the affected chest wall and lung.
This pleural effusion causes pain and shortness of breath that often signal something going wrong in the chest. By the time these symptoms occur, the aggressive cancer may have already spread to the chest lymph nodes, into the affected lung, and across to the other side of the chest.
Most types of asbestos-related lung cancer will spread to other areas of the body, including the brain, bones, and other distant organs. This spreading does not commonly occur with mesothelioma. It often causes respiratory failure after invading the lungs, local lymph nodes, and other areas of the chest.
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You May Be Able to Pursue Compensation Based on Your Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Most cases of pleural mesothelioma connect strongly to occupational asbestos exposure. If you can prove that you suffered exposure to this deadly material and now have a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may recover compensation to help pay for your treatment and other related losses.
With the asbestos mass tort now in full swing for more than 45 years, many of the companies that produced asbestos products have run out of money. When the first one filed for bankruptcy in 1988, the courts knew they needed to take action to ensure workers could continue to pursue monetary awards when they received a mesothelioma diagnosis or developed another asbestos-related condition.
To this end, the courts ordered bankrupting asbestos companies to establish trust funds for victims. These trust funds still exist today, and you may be able to file a claim or a lawsuit to receive money from one.
Talk to a Mesothelioma Compensation Attorney About Your Case for Free
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm believes that the asbestos company—not you and your family—should pay for your treatment, pain and suffering, and other losses you experience as a result of your asbestos exposure. We know how to navigate the asbestos claims process, build a compelling case, and fight for the award or settlement our client deserves. We will not shy away from even the toughest cases.
A member of our team can review your mesothelioma case for free today. If we decide to work together, we will handle your case based on contingency. You will not have any upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses. We get paid only after we recover a settlement or award for you and your family.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now at (800) 794-0444 for a free evaluation of your case.