A type of cancer, mesothelioma occurs in the mesothelium, or lining of the body’s organs. The disease can occur in many areas of the body, but in most patients, it develops in the lungs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Asbestos occurs naturally, but the mineral fibers can wreak havoc on cells in the lungs when inhaled, leading to mesothelioma and other related diseases. Because of its strength and resistance against chemicals and fire, many industries used asbestos in their products for decades. A rise in the instances of mesothelioma prompted researchers to study a potential connection to asbestos exposure.
Despite knowing that asbestos could cause mesothelioma, some companies hid this information to continue making a profit. As a result, thousands of former employees develop mesothelioma each year.
If a doctor diagnosed you or a loved one with mesothelioma that resulted from exposure to asbestos, a Mississippi mesothelioma lawyer can help you seek compensation. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 794-0444 to discuss your free case evaluation with our legal team.
Mesothelioma Risk Factors
Asbestos causes the large majority of mesothelioma cases. When humans breathe in airborne fibers, they can reach the pleura, or lung membranes. There, they cause cellular damage and scarring, which can alter the cells’ DNA and cause uncontrolled growth. The longer a person has exposure to asbestos, the greater their risk of developing mesothelioma. The Cleveland Clinic lists some of the industries commonly associated with regular asbestos exposure, including:
- Asbestos mining
- Chemical manufacturing
- Plastic and rubber manufacturing
- Fabric milling
Researchers have also linked radiation exposure to the development of mesothelioma, but it does not occur as commonly as in those who experienced asbestos exposure. Smoking can increase a person’s risk but does not cause mesothelioma on its own. In rare cases, genetics may play a role in the development of the disease, as well.
Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma has a long latency period, which means it often takes years for symptoms to develop even if the patient has removed the risk factors that cause it. In some cases, it takes decades, and doctors may have a hard time diagnosing it as its symptoms can mimic those of other conditions. Symptoms of the disease vary depending on where it affects the body.
The most common type, pleural mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the lungs and typically causes respiratory symptoms. Pleural mesothelioma affects 85% of those who develop the disease, and their symptoms may include:
- Chest pain
- Painful coughing
- Trouble breathing
- Lumps felt under the surface of the skin on the chest
- Fluid buildup in the chest
About 10% of patients with mesothelioma have it in the lining of their abdomen, or peritoneum. Peritoneal mesothelioma may cause severe abdominal pain, swelling due to a buildup of fluid (ascites), and bowel obstruction.
Other forms of the disease include pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the tissues surrounding the heart, and testicular mesothelioma. Any type of mesothelioma can cause general symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, and night sweats.
If you worked in an environment that exposed you to asbestos and a doctor diagnosed you with the disease, a Mississippi mesothelioma lawyer can help you pursue financial awards. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm online today, and we will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Mesothelioma Diagnosis and Treatment
If a doctor suspects you may have mesothelioma, they will likely begin by ordering imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans. If they detect any abnormalities in your lungs, abdomen, heart, or other areas, they may perform a biopsy, in which they remove a small sample of tissue to test for cancer. If they identify mesothelioma in the affected area, they can then determine its type. They may request further tests to determine if the cancer has spread, or metastasized, in the body.
Doctors do not currently have a cure for mesothelioma, and most patients survive approximately one year after their diagnosis. However, if a doctor diagnosed you with mesothelioma, you may still have options available depending on how far your cancer has progressed and how you wish to approach a treatment plan.
In earlier stages, patients may opt for surgery to remove the affected areas. This can sometimes remove the mesothelioma completely, but more often, doctors can only remove some of the cancer to help alleviate symptoms. If the patient wishes to treat the mesothelioma aggressively, they may also choose chemotherapy and/or radiation. In many cases, patients prefer to receive medications and treatments that keep them comfortable instead.
Financial Awards for Mesothelioma
If you developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos in the workplace, a Mississippi mesothelioma lawyer can help you seek financial awards. Victims often seek compensation through asbestos trusts, which many companies established as part of their bankruptcy proceedings following an influx of mesothelioma claims, according to Reuters.
If your employer did not set up an asbestos trust or you wish to pursue another option, you may file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit for your damages, which may include payment for:
- Medical bills and related healthcare expenses
- Lost wages or loss of future wages for missed work or if you lost a loved one who provided for you financially
- Pain and suffering for your physical, mental, and emotional trauma
- Funeral and burial expenses if occupational exposure to asbestos led to the death of your loved one
An attorney can help you weigh your options and determine a course of legal action for your case.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
A mesothelioma diagnosis can cause not only physical and emotional pain for the victim but also serious financial distress. In many cases, victims spent their lives working hard to provide for themselves and their families only to discover later that their employers knowingly exposed them to a deadly substance.
If a doctor diagnosed you or a loved one with mesothelioma, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you seek the financial awards you deserve. Call us today at (800) 794-0444 to discuss your case with our legal team.