Asbestos exposure puts you at risk of getting various life-threatening diseases, one of which is mesothelioma, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is a type of cancer that starts in the tissue membranes around your organs before spreading throughout the body.
Mesothelioma has a lengthy latency period, which is the time between exposure and the appearance of symptoms. It can take decades for this cancer to develop until it starts manifesting health complications. Patients typically get diagnosed around 30 to 50 years after they got exposed, though there have been mesothelioma cases with latency periods of under 20 years, according to the British Journal of Cancer.
Do take note that the onset of signs usually means your cancer has already spread considerably. The side effects usually become evident at Stage 3, though they can also appear during Stage 2.
All asbestos-related diseases take a long time to advance because asbestos fibers do not cause instantaneous damage. Instead, they gradually irritate the organ linings until the inflammation causes genetic damage. All of this soon results in malignant growths that will eventually spread to the rest of the body.
What Factors Affect How Quickly Mesothelioma Develops?
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), how long it takes to get mesothelioma after asbestos exposure depends on two factors: asbestos content and frequency. The more fibers there are, or the more you get exposed to them, the faster they can damage your membranes and shorten the latency period. Likewise, smaller amounts and less exposure generally leads to prolonged dormancy.
Having an occupation that potentially exposes you to asbestos dust regularly may require routine medical examinations to monitor for any cancerous tumors. Workers most at risk for getting the disease include people in construction, industrial and power plants, and firefighters.
The type of asbestos dust you ingested or inhaled also affects how long your mesothelioma stays dormant. For instance, crocidolite asbestos has much thinner fibers than other kinds. Their size makes it easier for more of them to get trapped inside your body, which could significantly diminish the latency period. This asbestos can also be an ingredient in construction materials such as cement tiles and insulation products, making them more commonplace in buildings and putting many people at risk of exposure.
Age can influence mesothelioma’s development rate as well. A person’s immune system generally weakens as they grow older, making it harder to fight against the inflammation caused by the asbestos fibers.
Can You Detect Mesothelioma Before Symptoms Appear?
While most people only get diagnosed once they develop complications, it is still possible to get an early diagnosis, according to Oncotarget. You can have yourself screened for cancer even if you don’t experience anything unusual yet. While there are no tests that specifically target mesothelioma, you can discover it through imaging tests such as x-rays, and MRI or CT scans. You can also opt to join clinical trials, though there are no guarantees that they can successfully diagnose your cancer.
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When Can You File a Mesothelioma Claim?
The statute of limitations for mesothelioma cases gives claimants a few years to present it at court. How much time you have left depends on where the asbestos exposure happened.
The countdown to your deadline starts once you discover your illness. If you have trouble determining your case’s time limit, you can have a mesothelioma attorney do it for you. They can also help you compile your proof to ensure that you can submit your claim on time.
We Provide Legal Assistance
It can take a long time before you get diagnosed with this specific cancer, but you may still be able to hold the liable parties accountable when you discover your illness years later. The office of Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help create your lawsuit and provide court representation. We can give you legal guidance while you focus on what only you can do—spend time with your family and focus on your well-being.
Our law firm handles personal injury claims involving mesothelioma cases. For more information, you may call (800) 307-3113. You can discuss the specific circumstances of your case during a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us as soon as possible so we may be able to start on your potential case.