Pleural mesothelioma is a type of asbestos-related cancer that affects the tissue that lines your chest cavity and lungs. This lining, known as the pleura, is made of mesothelial cells. When these cells begin to grow unchecked, they can cause problems breathing and eventually spread to other parts of the chest.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly cancer. It is almost always caused by breathing in asbestos several decades before.
Development and Spread of Pleural Mesothelioma
In the United States, an estimated 3,000 people receive a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis each year, according to the American Cancer Society. This life-threatening condition occurs because of inhaled asbestos fibers. These tiny fibers embed in the lungs deep enough to penetrate through to the pleura. Over time, nearby cells develop into cancerous nodules. They spread over the pleura aggressively. While they rarely advance outside of the chest or nearby areas, they can cause serious medical concerns. Symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- Severe pain in the chest, often on one side under the ribs
- Shortness of breath or difficulty inhaling deeply
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty swallowing
- Unexplained hoarseness
Other symptoms include:
- Excessive sweating
- Extreme fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blood clots
- Loss of appetite
Doctors often diagnose pleural mesothelioma at a late stage because its early symptoms often resemble less threatening illnesses. Pleural effusion—fluid buildup in the chest cavity—is often the concern that pushes people to see their doctor and leads to a diagnosis. This condition requires prompt medical intervention because it makes it difficult to breathe. Draining the fluid can help temporarily.
Treatment and Prognosis for Pleural Mesothelioma
The aggressive nature of this cancer and the fact that it often spreads before becoming symptomatic often means the prognosis is not good. People rarely live for more than a year or two after their diagnosis. Some people only survive a few months. Treatment, however, can slow down the progression of the condition in many people. This allows for more time with family and a better quality of life.
Treatment for pleural mesothelioma often includes:
While treatment can help significantly in many cases, there is no cure for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Surgery can remove many of the nodules, but it is almost impossible to remove every cell because of the way this cancer develops and grows. Radiation is also difficult because of the way the cancer forms tumors over the organs in the chest.
Overall, the five-year survival rate for pleural mesothelioma is below 10%, according to the American Cancer Society. When doctors diagnose patients at an earlier stage, the five-year survival rate is significantly higher than when diagnosed after it has spread throughout the chest.
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Pleural Mesothelioma May Qualify You for a Court Award
If you receive a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis, you may want to discuss your options with an attorney who takes on asbestos cancer cases. Many people have recovered a settlement or court award through the asbestos mass tort.
When a person suffers any type of medical ailment, especially terminal cancer, because of asbestos exposure, their family should not have to pay for their treatment and related costs. You can—and should—hold the asbestos companies who caused the exposure responsible.
Many of these companies no longer exist, so you may need to pursue compensation through an asbestos trust fund. In the late ‘80s, the bankruptcy courts required the companies who used or manufactured asbestos to create trust funds for future claimants. Some of these companies now pay out only a percentage of each claim to ration the remaining funds for cases that have neither settled nor received a court award.
An asbestos cancer lawyer can help you file a claim or lawsuit and navigate this complex legal process.
Discuss Your Case With a Pleural Mesothelioma Lawyer
The lawyers from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you understand how to pursue compensation for your pleural mesothelioma expenses and losses. We do not shy away from even the toughest of cases. With our team on your side, you may be able to prove your asbestos exposure, identify the company or companies responsible, and pursue an award or settlement.
We will explain the strength of your case and tell you the steps we can take on your behalf. Our clients never pay fees upfront. Instead, we take our payment from the award or settlement we recover for you. If we do not recover compensation, we do not receive compensation.
Call (800) 794-0444 today for a complimentary consultation and case review with a member of our asbestos-related cancer team.