The people most at risk for mesothelioma suffered exposure to asbestos, typically for many years. This group could include older men and women who may have worked in auto factories or other manufacturers 20-30 years ago that made products containing asbestos.
Others who might be at risk for getting mesothelioma include those workers who may have been exposed to asbestos fibers from products in other industries like construction, plumbing, mining, shipbuilding, and firefighting.
If you worked in one of these industries at some point in the past and are today suffering from the effects of mesothelioma cancer, you could qualify to participate in a lawsuit against the negligent building owner or company that was responsible for exposing you to asbestos.
Putting who is most at risk for mesothelioma aside, the more critical aspect of seeking restitution is to bring an asbestos-related claim against a negligent party.
In the family of asbestos-related cancers, mesothelioma is an unusually aggressive cancer that spends a long time in a person’s body without the person feeling symptoms of any kind. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) explains how exposure to asbestos occurs from inhaling asbestos fibers up to 40 years ago before feeling the effects of shortness of breath, chronic coughing, and body pain.
Mesothelioma develops when a person breathes in asbestos fibers. These fibers become lodged in a person’s pleural lining (thin tissue) around the lungs. When the fibers become lodged in a person’s lung tissue, they scar the lining of the lungs, which can cause years of pain, suffering, and medical treatments. The cancer can metastasize later into a person’s lungs, abdomen, brain, and other areas of the body.
In later stages of the cancer, suffering from mesothelioma can significantly impact the lung breathing capacity and functioning of a patient. The sad news is that for many people who suffered exposure to asbestos, there is no cure available.
Military Veterans at Risk
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), military veterans who served in Iraq, the Middle East, or Southeast Asia may also have had exposure to asbestos. The reason for this is because many buildings and products in developing countries around the world widely use asbestos. If you served on behalf of our country in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East, there is a chance that you had contact with asbestos in the heat of combat.
As bombs blew up buildings and subsequent damage occurred, the buildings’ collapse released toxic chemicals into the air. Our military personnel may have inhaled these asbestos fibers from the buildings. Another way for military veterans to have had exposure to asbestos is through employment in shipbuilding factories, construction yards, and other work areas that used products containing asbestos.
If this sounds like you, you may be in a group most at risk for mesothelioma. You need to know that there is a path to financial compensation should you develop mesothelioma as a result of your asbestos exposure.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 794-0444
What Is the Life Expectancy of a Person with Mesothelioma?
The life expectancy of a person with mesothelioma depends on what stage the disease has progressed to when they receive the diagnosis, but across all stages, Lung Cancer International research showed a life expectancy range of one to 15 years.
Another study documented in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates that the life expectancy of a person with mesothelioma in the United Kingdom averaged from 8-14 months. Again, the range depended on several factors, including the type of mesothelioma and when medical professionals discovered and diagnosed the patient with mesothelioma.
It is also important to remember that statistics are only generalized information and do not necessarily reflect the outcome of an individual patient.
Prognosis of Patients Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
The Mayo Clinic describes mesothelioma as a type of cancer that occurs in the mesothelium, which is the thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and other internal organs. Typically, mesothelioma occurs in the thin membrane lining covering vital organs such as the lungs (pleura mesothelioma), heart, and abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma).
While this cancer can remain dormant for decades, once it starts growing, it rapidly invades the organs and tissues and is typically considered fatal. This means that most patients who develop mesothelioma will likely not live past the five-year mark that most doctors use for statistical purposes.
However, it is always important to understand that every person is different and that every instance of mesothelioma has different treatments and outcomes. The American Cancer Society found that the combined five-year relative survival rate for all stages is 10%.
Early Diagnosis Is Key
Some screening tests can discover mesothelioma, including CT scans and chest X-rays, but they are typically not done due to the rarity of the disease. However, there are also now blood tests that can detect proteins such as fibulin-3 and soluble mesothelin-related peptide (SMRP), which can indicate the presence of mesothelioma.
The National Cancer Institute links the exposure of asbestos to the development of mesothelioma. Therefore, if you believe that you suffered asbestos exposure during your lifetime, any symptoms of chest or abdominal pain should receive an immediate medical evaluation. The prognosis of mesothelioma patients often depends on how quickly they receive a diagnosis.
The life expectancy of a person diagnosed with mesothelioma varies according to several significant factors:
- Their age at diagnosis (younger people tend to fare better).
- Whether the person was a smoker.
- Whether the person was in overall good health.
- Whether the person ate a healthy diet.
- The type of mesothelioma they developed.
Patients who develop pleural mesothelioma unfortunately have a shorter life expectancy than those patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma patients. For example, the Lung Cancer International study showed that while a 50-year-old male with localized pleural mesothelioma had a life expectancy of five years from diagnosis, that same person had a life expectancy of nine years with a peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis.
Treatments for Mesothelioma
Doctors use four different types of treatments for patients who develop mesothelioma:
- Surgery: Surgery removes large tumors in the lungs, chest area or abdomen. Surgery can remove these areas prior to other treatments to reduce the cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays (or other radiation) to either prevent cancer cells from continuing to grow or kill them completely. In some cases, the doctor can inject the radioactive substance directly into the body at or near the cancer site.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses different combinations of drugs injected into the body to reduce or destroy mesothelioma cells. How well this treatment works will depend on the type and stage of mesothelioma the patient has.
- Targeted therapy: Targeted therapies can include monoclonal antibody therapy (antibodies infused into the body), bevacizumab (antibodies that prevent the growth of blood vessels that the cancer needs to spread), and kinase inhibitors (drugs that stop specific signals that cancer cells need in order to grow.)
The National Cancer Institute also discusses experimental therapies that are currently being studied. These new treatments, now in clinical trials, include immunotherapy, biotherapy, and alternative treatments that may one day help improve the life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient.
Can You Survive Pleural Mesothelioma?
Some patients with pleural mesothelioma survive the illness for many years. According to the American Cancer Society, survival rates are based on data for patients with the same forms of pleural mesothelioma who survived for five years.
If your pleural mesothelioma is localized or if it has not spread, you have a 20% chance of surviving five years. If it is regional, meaning if it has spread but not to distant organs, then you have a 12% chance. If the cancer has spread to distant organs, then you have an 8% chance of surviving five years.
Factors that Influence the Survival Rate for Pleural Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the illness. It affects the pleura or the lining that surrounds the lungs.
Survival rates for mesothelioma are generally low, in large part because the illness is often detected only after it has progressed to an advanced stage. Once mesothelioma has metastasized and spread to other parts of the body, it may be more difficult, or even impossible, to treat.
In many cases, when people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is too late for treatments to be effective, and doctors instead focus on palliative treatments to make patients as comfortable as possible.
The survival rate for pleural mesothelioma is lower than the survival rates for other forms of mesothelioma. If pleural mesothelioma is detected early, while it is still localized in the lining that surrounds the lungs, it may be possible to treat it with surgery.
The fact is that in most cases, pleural mesothelioma is not diagnosed until it has reached a later stage. When pleural mesothelioma has reached stage 3 or 4, it has often spread to other organs or to the lymph nodes, which makes it difficult to treat with surgery. Chemotherapy and radiation may be helpful in some cases.
The type of cancer cells present can affect whether an individual’s pleural mesothelioma can be treated and whether the person is likely to survive.
Younger people who are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma are more likely to survive the illness than individuals who are older at the time of diagnosis. Since younger people are generally healthier, they may be able to undergo more aggressive treatments than older individuals. Genetics and lifestyle factors, such as whether a person smokes, can also determine how long you can survive pleural mesothelioma.
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Can Kids Get Mesothelioma?
Yes, children and teens do sometimes get mesothelioma. However, this type of cancer is much more common in older people who have a history of asbestos exposure, usually through work. Two out of every three people with mesothelioma are at least 65 years old. Some children suffer exposure to asbestos via secondary exposure, but it is unclear how these children develop mesothelioma despite the disease normally requiring decades to develop in adults.
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma and believe it is due to asbestos exposure, an attorney from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to pursue compensation on your behalf. Call (800) 794-0444 now to learn more.
Research Is Not Clear About the Cause of Mesothelioma in Youth
There are unique clinical and genetic characteristics of younger mesothelioma patients, according to a study of patients under 35 years old in Modern Pathology. Young people with mesothelioma are more likely to have a history of therapeutic radiation and a family history of breast cancer. These factors may have some link to the development of mesothelioma.
Some people believe mesothelioma in young people may occur because of secondary exposure to asbestos. This occurs when someone else works in an environment with asbestos, and they track the carcinogen into their vehicle and their own home. The fibers stick to skin, hair, and clothes, and over time, mesothelioma develops.
Young People May Have a Somewhat Better Prognosis
Patients with a mesothelioma diagnosis before age 35 may be able to handle cancer treatments better and have a greater chance of recovery. Possible treatments include:
Other factors besides age that affect prognosis include the stage of the mesothelioma at diagnosis, whether surgical removal is possible, and the general health of the patient. Overall, the Modern Pathology study found that the median overall survival for patients under age 35 was 40 months. While this is significantly longer than the survival for the older patients, 26 months on average, both are less than the average prognosis of five years or less.
Some Mesothelioma Cases May Support Legal Action
Pursuing legal action for cases when kids get mesothelioma may present difficulties, as it is difficult to determine how these kids developed cancer. When mesothelioma develops due to asbestos exposure, it takes 10 to 50 years to become symptomatic. Developing mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure in childhood is unlikely for this reason.
For young adults and older patients with mesothelioma, however, the diagnosis may support a civil case. If we can demonstrate a link between your cancer and asbestos exposure, you may qualify to pursue and recover compensation.
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Does Anyone Survive Mesothelioma?
A person diagnosed with mesothelioma can survive this cancer if it is detected and treated in its early stages. Due to the long latency of the disease, mesothelioma may not even show symptoms until 10 to 20 years after the initial exposure to asbestos, according to the British Journal of Cancer. Asbestos is a carcinogen that accounts for the majority of mesothelioma cases, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma recently, there are legal options available to you to pinpoint a claim against those at fault for the asbestos exposure. Instead of asking if anyone survives mesothelioma, consider reviewing your employment history to question whether a job site exposed you to asbestos and whether you have any symptoms of mesothelioma. This way, you can seek a diagnosis earlier.
Mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to fully comprehend. At its basic definition, it is a lung cancer that can seriously damage the thin tissue layer surrounding the internal organs of a person. Without early detection and treatment, mesothelioma can spread and impact the heart, the abdomen and even the groin and testicles, according to StatPearls.
How would someone know they have mesothelioma? That’s the difficult part. Symptoms are not immediately apparent, and a person may just shrug off any persistent cough or spitting up phlegm as a seasonal flu-type bug, not of something more serious like mesothelioma.
How a person contracts the cancer of mesothelioma can be through one of many ways. Most evidence points to a person contracting the cancer through the inhalation of asbestos fibers into the airways and into a person’s lungs.
Asbestos fibers are tiny minerals found in the production of commercial goods. Products containing asbestos were used widely for years in insulation and roofing materials, and also in fire-retardant products, as asbestos works well to resist fire, heat, and chemicals.
Many workers in the factories that produced these products were exposed to asbestos over the years. That is why workers who were exposed to asbestos fibers in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s were getting symptoms in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.
When asking whether anyone survives mesothelioma, the time of diagnosis is key. If mesothelioma is found at an early stage and is treated appropriately, the person can expect to live longer in a reasonably healthy fashion.
Medical experts usually identify the stages of cancer growth to determine how fast a particular cancer might spread throughout a person’s body, according to the National Cancer Institute. If mesothelioma is caught in stage 1 or 2, then there are often more treatment options available to the patient. But if a cancer diagnosis comes in the latter stages 3 and 4, the chances for any adequate treatment start to diminish.
Unfortunately, the major symptoms of mesothelioma rarely start to appear in the early stages. Doctors may accidentally find out that a person has a cancer within by using a biopsy or an x-ray, but it is often found more commonly during stages 3 and 4.
During the 3rd stage, a person may start to feel more pressure in the chest and lungs, as the cancer spreads into the lungs. This is when serious outbreaks of coughing and difficulty breathing symptoms are seen more frequently.
The 4th and last cancer stage is often too late for any proper treatment to help a person recover from asbestos exposure. It’s too late at this point, as the cancer has spread throughout the person’s body. Palliative care is often the answer during this period of mesothelioma, with treatments aimed at minimizing the pain felt by the person throughout the ordeal.
Seeking a Financial Settlement for Mesothelioma
If you worked in a factory or building with asbestos in the walls or air, and you were exposed to asbestos, which later led to a diagnosis of mesothelioma, you may want to seek financial compensation against those at fault. This is your legal right to sue as an aggrieved citizen, who fully expected a safe workplace during your time there.
In a negligence case involving mesothelioma, a plaintiff may seek a claim against the company owners, the building owners, the company insurers, company management, and even the city and state in which the building was located. These are complex, time-consuming cases, and they can take valuable time out of the healing process.
How Do Mesothelioma Patients Die?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive, highly fatal form of cancer occurring in the mesothelium—the lining that covers most of the body’s internal organs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 45,221 people reportedly died from mesothelioma in the U.S. between 1999 and 2015. Most of the diagnosed patients died from lung complications arising from the disease, such as respiratory failure or pneumonia. How mesothelioma patients die depends on the cancer type and tumor location.
Most patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma pass away from respiratory failure, pneumonia, or another respiratory infection. Mesothelioma is asymptomatic during its early stages; it does not present symptoms until the disease has progressed significantly. By this time, the patient may struggle to breathe.
The prognosis for patients with mesothelioma differs due to numerous factors. Unfortunately, most people find out they have the disease once it is already in an advanced stage, which results in a low survival rate of less than 10%. There is no cure for mesothelioma. Treatments are available to address the symptoms and improve the condition; however, these can be expensive and out of reach for many, especially those who do not have medical insurance to help cover costs.
Mesothelioma carries a five-year survival rate of between 5% and 10%. Just fewer than half of those diagnosed survive one year after diagnosis, according to data from the American Cancer Society. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a median survival time after diagnosis of around one year.
Mesothelioma Is Almost Always the Cause of Death in Those With the Diagnosis
While some people question the accuracy of the reporting of mesothelioma deaths on death certificates, according to a study in the January 2009 issue of BMC Cancer, this type of deadly cancer almost always leads to the death of those affected. Often, constant, painful, and distressing shortness of breath drives people to seek a diagnosis. The disease progresses in stages from there, according to the American Cancer Society.
Doctors may perform surgery to remove most of the cancerous cells, as well as offer medication and supplemental oxygen to ease breathing. Often, physicians may need to drain the fluid buildup around your lungs, which should offer immense relief. Eventually, though, these treatments fail to keep the patient alive. Mesothelioma patients die when their lungs simply do not work well enough to continue to oxygenate their blood adequately.
In addition, cancer patients find themselves particularly susceptible to infection. Undergoing chemotherapy can weaken your immune system response even further, commonly giving rise to deadly cases of pneumonia and other respiratory infections. This is a common way mesothelioma patients die.
What Causes Death in Mesothelioma Patients?
Mesothelioma is linked to prolonged asbestos exposure. A majority of cases are a result of occupational exposure to the mineral. However, the disease can remain latent in the body for a long time. Symptoms typically appear 20 to 50 years after the initial exposure, making it difficult to treat in the early stages.
There are four types of mesothelioma, and each is identified based on the location of the affected mesothelium. Among them, pleural mesothelioma is the most common, affecting more than half of diagnosed cases. Most patients get pleural mesothelioma from inhaling asbestos fibers, which causes cell mutation in the lungs that develop into a malignant tumor. The tumor causes patients to experience chest pain, breathing difficulties, and persistent coughing, caused by the build-up of fluid in the chest, known as pleural effusion. In many cases, the condition leads to respiratory failure and, ultimately, death. Also, there are instances when the tumor spreads and invades other organs and tissues, such as the heart, abdomen, diaphragm, and esophagus, causing them to malfunction.
What Is the Life Expectancy of Diagnosed Patients?
In general, the prognosis for mesothelioma is poor. Average life expectancy following its diagnosis ranges from 12 to 21 months, and sometimes shorter if discovered during the later stages. Late diagnosis limits most patients to palliative or supportive care as the disease becomes more difficult to manage with treatment.
However, keep in mind that primary factors like age, overall health, and type of tumor can also impact a patient’s survival and effectiveness of treatments. Younger, healthier patients can handle more aggressive treatments.
Is It Possible to Treat Mesothelioma?
Yes, it is possible to treat mesothelioma, and even more rare to cure it. The key is early detection of the disease, so it is crucial to pay attention to its warning signs. Sometimes, chest pain, sudden weight loss, and unusual lumps underneath the chest’s skin may point to a condition other than mesothelioma. Mention to your doctor if you have had previous exposure to asbestos for a more accurate diagnosis. Once confirmed, they will determine the treatments possible for your condition.
In the early stages of mesothelioma, surgery can remove as much of the affected area as possible. While its success rate varies in most cases, it is often effective at alleviating the symptoms, particularly when combined with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
During chemotherapy, a combination of drugs stops cancer growth by killing the cells or preventing them from reproducing or dividing. It can be used either before surgery to shrink the tumor, or after to reduce the likelihood of cancerous cells from returning.
Radiotherapy uses high-energy radiation from X-rays and protons and focuses on the affected area to eliminate cancer cells. It is often used following the surgical procedure to kill any remaining abnormal cells. However, there are instances when it can be useful in slowing down advanced mesothelioma if surgery is not feasible.
Mesothelioma Treatment Often Focuses on Palliative Care
The characteristic pain and shortness of breath of mesothelioma can greatly decrease the quality of life for those who suffer from this disease. If doctors diagnosed you with mesothelioma, you should work closely with your physicians to manage your symptoms and ensure you are getting the best care possible.
Treatment for mesothelioma often focuses on palliative care, including pain management, reducing symptoms, and taking steps to maintain your quality of life for as long as possible. This could require the doctor to offer an oral patch, or intravenous pain relief, as well as to prescribe other treatments to reduce your difficulty breathing. Other common issues that may be addressed include:
- Nerve pain from cancer progression
- Poor sleep
- Depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns
- Loss of appetite
- Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation
Your doctor may also help you make decisions about your end of life care, an important step you may find hard to consider in the weeks and months following your diagnosis. You will want to ensure you can remain as pain-free as possible if your disease progresses.
Pursuing Compensation for Mesothelioma Patients
With the right evidence, you may be able to prove that you or your recently departed loved one developed mesothelioma because of exposure to this deadly material. If you can build a compelling case, you may be able to join the hundreds of thousands of other people who already recovered compensation through the asbestos mass tort.
Asbestos companies profited off of exposing workers and others to their dangerous products for decades. After a long latency period, those victims developed asbestosis, mesothelioma, or asbestos-related lung cancers. All of these conditions can prove deadly, with no effective cure for any of them.
If this happened to you or a loved one, the asbestos company responsible should pay for treatment and care. An attorney who handles mesothelioma asbestos cancer cases can help you understand your legal options for pursuing a settlement or award.
Lawsuits Involving Mesothelioma
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can work with you to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek financial restitution if asbestos exposure has affected your life.
When you or someone you love has suffered from the devastating effects of mesothelioma because of asbestos exposure, and the cancer is in the later stages, there is not a lot that a medical team can do. Most mesothelioma treatments work in the early stages of the cancer. Most treatments focus on minimizing the pain of someone suffering for those whose symptoms are not found until stages 3 or 4.
Filing a lawsuit against a building owner, the company owner and management, or a product manufacturer can bring you possible financial restitution to help your family deal with the impact of mesothelioma on your lives.
In these lawsuits, the plaintiff must show evidence that the defendant knew about the dangers of asbestos exposure in the work area or building location. If the facts show that the defendant did nothing to shield you or your loved one from any harmful asbestos exposure, then compensation might be awarded as damages for the harm caused to the person with mesothelioma.
Filing a lawsuit is no longer a case of who is most at risk for mesothelioma, but rather, who is most entitled to receive financial compensation in an asbestos lawsuit.
Seek Legal Help to Pursue Compensation for Mesothelioma
Being diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma can be devastating. In many cases, people with mesothelioma have non-specific symptoms and are shocked when they find out that they have cancer.
If you have learned that you have pleural mesothelioma, you may be trying to figure out how your family will cover the medical bills, in addition to regular living expenses, such as your mortgage, utilities, and groceries. You may be struggling to come to grips with the fact that the type of cancer you have has low survival rates. You may be worried about how your family would get by without you.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you seek financial compensation if your mesothelioma was caused by asbestos, the primary risk factory, according to the Mayo Clinic. While that would not be able to cure your cancer, it could give your family some peace of mind. A settlement could cover your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering and could give your family funds to pay for future expenses.
How We May Be Able to Help You
Our firm has been representing clients across the United States in personal injury cases for more than 30 years. We have helped numerous clients with mesothelioma who were exposed to asbestos at work, who came into contact with it after a family member brought home asbestos fibers, or who used common products that were manufactured with asbestos.
Since mesothelioma is typically diagnosed decades after a person was exposed to asbestos, many clients who come to us wanting to pursue compensation for mesothelioma have no idea when or how they were exposed to asbestos. In our work with previous clients, we have collected information on companies and products that used asbestos. That database may help us figure out how you were exposed to asbestos, so we can hold the company that was responsible for your exposure accountable.
We may file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. If the business that was liable for your asbestos exposure has declared bankruptcy, we may still be able to seek compensation. Many companies that declared bankruptcy due to a large volume of mesothelioma lawsuits set up trust funds to compensate victims.
It often takes a significant amount of time to figure out how someone was exposed to asbestos, to go through an individual’s medical records, and to build a case.
If you or your loved one received a diagnosis of mesothelioma related to your exposure to asbestos, you may feel overwhelmed with the diagnosis and the prognosis of your disease. However, you also may have the legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering.
You might want to consider contacting the legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn how an asbestos attorney can help you pursue the compensation you might be entitled to receive. Call (800) 794-0444 today to get started.