Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of internal organs, called the mesothelium. The aggressive disease can affect many areas of the body, but it usually affects the tissue surrounding the lungs of patients who have a history of working with asbestos. While asbestos occurs naturally, breathing in the strong, resistant fibers used for many years in construction and other industries can lead to mesothelioma and other related diseases.
According to the American Cancer Society, although scientists became more aware that asbestos could cause cancer as early as the 1950s, using and importing asbestos in the United States did not decrease until the mid-1970s. While the European Union banned use of the substance in 2005, the United States has limited its use but has yet to impose a ban.
If you or a loved one received a mesothelioma diagnosis due to exposure to asbestos, a Maryland mesothelioma lawyer could help you review your legal options. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 614-2067 to speak with our legal team during a free case review.
Risk Factors for Mesothelioma
According to an article in the Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, mesothelioma represents less than 1% of all cancers. While the disease can develop spontaneously in humans, this occurs rarely. Most patients develop mesothelioma due to exposure to harmful toxins.
Estimates of the number of mesothelioma cases caused by asbestos vary, but experts agree that most cases result from long-term exposure in the workplace.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, more than 5,000 products either contain or once contained asbestos, particularly construction materials and automobile equipment. Development of mesothelioma occurs most frequently in those who mined asbestos or worked in the industries that used it, such as:
- Construction and building
- Chemical, plastic, and rubber manufacturing
- Building demolition
The longer a person is exposed to asbestos, the greater their chance of developing mesothelioma.
Those who experienced exposure to radiation may have an increased risk of mesothelioma, too. This exposure can occur during treatment for other diseases and in the workplace, particularly in:
- Nuclear power
If your mesothelioma resulted from occupational exposure to asbestos or radiation, a Maryland mesothelioma lawyer might be able to help you pursue financial awards. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to discuss your case with a representative from our legal team.
How Doctors Diagnose Mesothelioma
In 2015, mesothelioma accounted for more than 2,500 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even after exposure to asbestos ends, the lungs may still experience scarring due to breathing in the fibers. Over time, this can contribute to the development of cancer. Mesothelioma has a long latency period of 15 to up to 60 years, which means patients often do not show symptoms until decades after the exposure.
According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors diagnose mesothelioma by conducting imaging scans on the patient’s chest. If they notice abnormal areas, they may perform a biopsy in which they remove a small portion of the affected tissue to test it. If the biopsy confirms mesothelioma, the doctor can then establish the type and may conduct further tests to determine its extent and if it has spread to other areas of the body.
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Treatment for Mesothelioma
Unfortunately, patients typically have limited treatment options for mesothelioma. The disease progresses quickly, and the median survival after a malignant diagnosis is about one year, according to the CDC. However, patients may have options depending on how early they receive a diagnosis and how they wish to pursue treatment.
In the early stages of the disease, patients may experience success with the surgical removal of affected areas. This usually helps to alleviate the symptoms of some patients. Those who desire more aggressive forms of treatment may have the option to undergo chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments to try to kill the cancer cells. In other cases, patients follow a care plan that keeps them comfortable.
You May Qualify for Financial Awards
Research suggests that many manufacturers who used asbestos in their products knew that the substance posed a real or potential risk to workers but continued to conceal the information. As a result, many companies that exposed their employees to asbestos filed bankruptcy.
As part of their proceedings, some created asbestos trusts for plaintiffs who would file claims for their development of mesothelioma. These trusts have allowed victims and their families to receive compensation for their damages.
In some cases, victims or their families pursue a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit instead. A Maryland mesothelioma lawyer can help you determine the appropriate course of action for seeking compensation in your case.
Maryland Statute of Limitations
If you choose to file a trust fund claim or a lawsuit to seek compensation for your asbestos-related mesothelioma, you must file within a certain time after receiving your diagnosis.
In Maryland, victims and their families have three years from the date of diagnosis to pursue a personal injury claim or three years from the date of their loved one’s death to file suit for wrongful death. Each trust fund claim has its limits for filing a claim, but an attorney can help you determine how long you have and help you get started.
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Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
For decades, many Maryland workers in several industries worked to provide for themselves and their families while unknowingly being exposed to the deadly risks associated with their occupations. If a doctor has given you or a loved one a diagnosis of asbestos-related mesothelioma, we might be able to help you recover the financial awards you deserve. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 614-2067 to discuss your free case evaluation with our legal team.