Yes, malignant mesothelioma is fatal. According to the Mayo Clinic, malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer with no cure for many people.
Although different types of mesothelioma exist, malignant mesothelioma is the most dangerous and deadly type. It is caused by inhaling asbestos, a group of naturally occurring minerals present in mines as well as manufactured products such as insulation, floor and ceiling tiles, paints, automotive parts, and roofing materials.
Inhaling asbestos leads to harmful particles getting trapped in the lungs. Eventually, the particles accumulate and cause inflammation and scarring, which can affect breathing and lead to serious health problems.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), malignant mesothelioma has been discovered in humans who were only exposed to asbestos for a few days. As a result, the organization has stated that no safe level of asbestos exists.
Asbestos was widely used in many industries because of its resistance to heat, fire, and chemicals and its inability to conduct electricity.
The development of malignant mesothelioma is often occupational-related due to the nature of certain jobs exposing workers to hazardous materials. Workers who are exposed to asbestos commonly work in the construction, manufacturing, or ship repair industries. Occupants of old buildings can also be at risk for asbestos exposure.
Cases have also been documented in patients with secondhand exposure. A person who works around asbestos may come home with it on their skin, hair, or clothing and transmit it to their family.
Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Malignant Mesothelioma
Symptoms of malignant mesothelioma are similar to lung cancer and can include:
- Persistent and painful cough
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Lumps under the skin of the chest
Diagnosis is difficult because the symptoms may look like other conditions and the disease is rare, but it often begins with a chest X-ray. Other possible diagnostic tests include:
- CT scan
- Blood tests
- MRI scan
- PET scan
- Biopsies of fluid and tissue
- Pulmonary function tests
Once a patient is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, their life expectancy varies on many factors, such as metastasis and treatment methods, among many other factors. Treatment may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, clinical trials, and palliative measures to ease symptoms and pain. Long-term remission or cure is possible but very rare.
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Lawsuits Involving Malignant Mesothelioma
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), asbestos was mined and used in North America beginning in the late 19th century and continued into the mid-1900s. However, in the 1970s, its use was limited due to a discovered connection between exposure to the minerals and the development of malignant mesothelioma. In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prohibited all new uses of asbestos. However, materials manufactured using asbestos still exist today.
Some highly publicized lawsuits involving well-known companies such as Johnson & Johnson, U.S. Steel, and Daimler-Chrysler continue to display the link between asbestos and malignant mesothelioma. This encouraged patients and their families to come forward and open lawsuits over the past few decades.
Reach Out to a Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, or if a loved one passed away due to fatal malignant mesothelioma, a lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help. Call (800) 307-3113 to schedule a free consultation.
A lawyer familiar with mesothelioma cases may gather evidence and perform an investigation in an attempt to determine how, why, and where you were exposed to asbestos. They will examine all of the costs you have accrued and put a dollar amount to a claim that includes pain and suffering. They will attempt to reach a settlement in order for you to recover some of the costs that you have incurred through no fault of your own. If a settlement is not reached, they will not shy away from a tough case and will go to court if necessary.
A lawyer will fight for your rights so you can have peace of mind. They will go over the details of your case and explain what options are available to you. They know that a lot of companies already have a team of lawyers representing them in asbestos-related cases. However, your lawyer will fight for justice for you. Do not hesitate; the sooner you call, the sooner a lawyer can get to work for you.
Sadly, malignant mesothelioma is fatal in most cases. While symptoms of mesothelioma can be treated, there is no cure for the disease, according to Mayo Clinic. Options are available to help remove, shrink, or treat the tumors caused by mesothelioma. These interventions may extend life expectancy and improve quality of life.
The two most common types of malignant mesothelioma are pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs, and peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the abdomen. About 75 percent of malignant mesothelioma cases are pleural, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
The ACS predicts an 8 to 20 percent survival rate for malignant pleural mesothelioma, depending on how advanced the cancer is at the time of diagnosis. If the mesothelioma is localized, meaning it has not spread beyond the pleura, a patient is about 20 percent as likely to survive another five years as those without cancer. If the cancer has metastasized, the survival rate decreases.
These rates are only estimates based on statistics involving others with this type and stage of cancer. Survival rates should not be taken as an exact prediction of the illness. Advancements in treatment can also lead to better outcomes.
Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment
According to the Cleveland Clinic, pleural mesothelioma can be treated with surgery to remove cancerous tissue. In advanced cases where the cancer has spread, it may be necessary to remove an entire lung, as well as the lining surrounding the heart, chest, and diaphragm.
Targeted drug therapy may be used to stop the buildup of fluid in the chest cavity. A doctor may also use radiation and chemotherapy treatments. According to Mayo Clinic, these same treatments also are used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma, although focused on the abdominal area.
Often, mesothelioma is not discovered until it is in the later stages. These interventions may help relieve pain and prolong your life, but malignant mesothelioma is almost always fatal. Anyone who experiences shortness of breath, unexplained weight changes, abdominal pain, or lumps on the chest or belly, should see a doctor immediately to seek a diagnosis and treatment.
Causes of Malignant Mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma is caused by inhaling or swallowing asbestos fibers, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Exposure to asbestos happens most often in the workplace. People who work around asbestos should wear protective equipment and take precautions against exposing others to fibers on their bodies or clothing.
People also can be exposed to asbestos through building materials found in older homes. If insulation, tiles, or other components containing asbestos are disturbed during demolition or remodeling, asbestos fibers could become airborne. If you believe your home may contain asbestos, you should contact professionals about removal before beginning any work.
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with a form of malignant mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. If you were exposed to asbestos because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be owed financial help for your treatment and more. Reach out to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to speak to a member of our team. Call (800) 307-3113 today.