Mesothelioma is not a type of lung cancer, but both can cause significant damage to the respiratory system and similar symptoms as lung cancer. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the thin membranes that line many organs throughout the body. It most commonly affects the pleura, the lining of the chest cavity, and lungs.
Mesothelioma is almost always caused by asbestos exposure. Any level of asbestos exposure could lead to this type of cancer, and all forms of the fibers can trigger its growth. However, the amphibole form of asbestos may cause mesothelioma with less exposure than the more common chrysotile form of asbestos, according to the American Cancer Society.
Understanding Mesothelioma as an Asbestos-Related Cancer
Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin lining of the body’s organs and cavities. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reports that there are several areas where mesothelioma can occur:
- Pleura (lungs)
- Peritoneum (abdomen)
- Pericardium (heart)
- Tunica vaginalis testis (testicles)
About 80% of all cases of malignant mesothelioma are asbestos-related cancers that affect the lining of the chest cavity and lungs, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Almost 20% affect the peritoneum, and a small fraction of cases affect other mesothelial cells in the body.
While heavy exposure to asbestos increases the risk of mesothelioma, no level of exposure is safe, and even very limited exposures can cause this type of cancer.
All forms of asbestos can also cause mesothelioma, but the amphibole form is generally thought to be more likely to remain in the lungs and cause cancer than chrysotile asbestos.
There is no cure for mesothelioma. This is especially true when diagnosed after it spreads throughout the chest cavity. A late diagnosis is common because of the latency period of this type of cancer. It often takes several decades to develop and then remains asymptomatic until it advances far enough to cause pleural effusion or another pulmonary complication.
While the prognosis for those with mesothelioma is generally poor, treatment and care can help reduce pain and other symptoms and offer additional months of life. These treatments may include:
- Radiation therapy
- Clinical trials
- Draining of pleural effusion
- Pain management
- Supplemental oxygen
Rarely, doctors may be able to remove most or all of a mesothelioma growth and then use chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to stop the spread of any remaining cells. This can help extend a person’s life for months or years.
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Mesothelioma May Qualify You for Compensation
Many people who develop mesothelioma worked in industries where exposure to asbestos occurred regularly. If this happened to you, or if you have a known exposure outside of the workplace, you may be able to collect evidence and take action to pursue compensation. This could include an award or settlement to cover some or all of your:
- Medical care costs
- Other treatment-related expenses
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses, if applicable
- Other wrongful death losses, if the person passes away
To recover an award or settlement in the asbestos mass tort, you will need to collect evidence to prove your case and then file a claim or lawsuit. A mesothelioma asbestos cancer lawyer can explain the types of evidence you will need to prove your exposure, diagnosis, and a link between the two. You may want to talk to an attorney about your case before you make any decisions about what to do next.
In addition to helping those who have mesothelioma pursue an award, surviving family members may also be able to recover compensation from an asbestos trust fund in a wrongful death case after the person with mesothelioma passes away.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm May Be Able to Help You
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm offers complimentary consultations to those with an asbestos-related malignant mesothelioma diagnosis. We can help you understand if your case has merit. If we believe you are eligible to pursue compensation, we can help you gather the necessary information and build a compelling case.
Our clients never have to pay us anything out-of-pocket or upfront. We collect payment only if we win for you. The first step in learning how to take legal action to hold an asbestos company responsible for your mesothelioma is a free case review. Call (800) 307-3113 today to get started.