Patients with stage 4 mesothelioma generally live less than 12 months after being diagnosed, according to the National Institute of Cancer (NIC). When mesothelioma has reached stage 4, the cancer has metastasized, or spread to other parts of the body, and is terminal.
Possible Treatments for Stage 4 Mesothelioma
For patients with stage 4 mesothelioma, chemotherapy may be the best treatment option. Although it will not be able to cure the mesothelioma, chemotherapy may reduce the size of the tumors, improve a patient’s quality of life, and extend the person’s life expectancy. Treating stage 4 mesothelioma with a combination of chemotherapy and surgery may be more effective than using chemotherapy alone. Some patients with stage 4 mesothelioma are too weak to undergo surgery, however.
A doctor may recommend radiation in some cases, depending on the growth of an individual’s tumors and the person’s overall health. Radiation may shrink tumors, reduce chest pressure, relieve pain, and improve breathing.
Other procedures may help to relieve pain. For example, fluid can be drained from the chest, abdomen, and area around the heart to reduce pain and to treat other symptoms.
Experimental treatments, such as gene therapy and immunotherapy, may be beneficial for some individuals with stage 4 mesothelioma. Oxygen therapy, respiratory therapy, and other complementary therapies may enhance the quality of life and increase a patient’s life expectancy.
How long an individual with stage 4 mesothelioma may survive depends on how much the tumors have spread and how well that person responds to treatment. People with epithelioid cell type and those who are female, younger, and in good overall health may respond better to treatment than others who do not share those characteristics.
Late-Stage Mesothelioma May Be Misdiagnosed
Patients with stage 4 mesothelioma may experience symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, a buildup of fluid in the chest or abdomen, abdominal pain, severe weight loss, fatigue, difficulty swallowing, and coughing up blood. Some people with stage 4 mesothelioma do not experience symptoms that would point toward a diagnosis of cancer. Instead, they may have symptoms that cause a doctor to misdiagnose mesothelioma as another lung-related condition, such as pneumonia. They may not receive treatment that might improve their quality of life or extend their life expectancy.
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How Can People Get Mesothelioma?
Asbestos is the most common cause of mesothelioma, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It was used for decades in a wide range of products, and many people did not know that they were exposed to the carcinogen on a regular basis, often over a period of years.
Construction workers, firefighters, mechanics, members of the military, and others may have come into contact with asbestos on the job. They also may have exposed their families by carrying asbestos fibers home on their bodies and clothes. In addition, people who used common household products that contained asbestos may have been exposed to it frequently.
Mesothelioma typically starts to show symptoms decades after people were initially exposed to asbestos, according to the Mayo Clinic. By the time patients are diagnosed, there is often little that doctors can do since the cancer has already reached a late stage. In those instances, doctors generally focus on making patients comfortable, rather than trying to cure the disease or slow its progression.
You May Be Entitled to Compensation for Expenses Related to Mesothelioma
If you developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos, you may be eligible for a financial award. If you came into contact with the carcinogen at work and you were not warned of the danger and given appropriate protective equipment, your employer may be found liable for your cancer. If you owned or worked with products that contained asbestos and the manufacturer failed to warn the public of the danger, that company may be held responsible for your mesothelioma.
A law firm may be able to help you obtain compensation to pay for your medical bills, as well as lost income and pain and suffering. Even if you do not know how you came into contact with the carcinogen, they can gather information on companies that used asbestos in their products and compiled a database to help us learn how clients may have been exposed.
Once you have figured out who was responsible for your asbestos exposure, you may file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation. If the business that was liable has declared bankruptcy, it may have established a trust fund to compensate mesothelioma victims. In that case, you may seek a financial award from the trust fund.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Identifying the company that was responsible for your cancer and building a case will take time. If you have been diagnosed with stage 4 mesothelioma, you may have less than a year to live. The sooner you get in touch with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, the sooner we can discuss your case. Call our office today at (800) 307-3113 so we can get started as quickly as possible.