Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the mesothelium, the thin membrane that covers many internal organs. It most commonly occurs in the pleura, the covering of the chest cavity and lungs. This type of cancer is almost always asbestos-related, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
While the vast majority of mesothelioma cases are asbestos-related and affect the pleura, there are also other types. This type of cancer can affect almost any area of the body with mesothelial cells. This includes:
- The pleura (the chest)
- The peritoneum (the abdomen)
- The pericardium (around the heart)
- Tunica vaginalis testis (around the testicles)
- The ovaries
Development and Progression of Asbestos-Related Mesothelioma
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR), asbestos-related mesothelioma can occur after short-term, high-level exposure or because of repeated low-level exposures over a long period of time. Asbestos fibers, especially the amphibole type, are difficult to clear from the lungs after inhalation. Over time, the collection of these fibers trigger changes in the cells around them. When this occurs in the pleura, mesothelioma, a type of cancer, is the result.
People with a greater exposure to asbestos generally have a greater risk of developing mesothelioma. This type of cancer is aggressive and deadly. Initial symptoms usually occur after the cancer spreads. According to the American Cancer Society, these symptoms may include:
- Labored breathing
- Chest pain
- Pleural effusion (fluid in the chest cavity)
- Pleural thickening
All types of asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma, and there are no known other causes of this type of cancer.
Treatment and Prognosis for Mesothelioma
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is almost always fatal. According to the ATSDR, once symptoms appear, the person may decline rapidly and pass away within a few months. However, treatment offers some hope of extending their life, reducing pain, easing breathing, and increasing quality of life.
Overall, the prognosis for mesothelioma is not good, according to the ACS. However, surgery and chemotherapy can help when someone receives a diagnosis early. When the tumors are localized at the time of diagnosis, 20% of people are still alive five years later.
When the cancer spreads to other areas of the chest cavity but not to the other lung or elsewhere in the body, the five-year survival rate is 12%. Once it spreads to the other side of the chest or outside of the chest, only about 8% of people survive beyond five years.
Palliative Care for Mesothelioma
In most cases, treatment for pleural mesothelioma is not curative. Even when caught early, this type of cancer is almost always eventually fatal. However, good candidates for surgical removal have a much better prognosis than those with cancer that cannot be removed completely.
Because this type of cancer is often diagnosed only after it spreads, the prescribed treatment often focuses on palliative care. The doctors offer chemotherapy, pain management, and other treatments to reduce your pain and improve your quality of life as long as possible. It is important to consider whether you want to opt for palliative care or aggressive cancer treatments.
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Pleural Mesothelioma Is an Asbestos-Related Cancer
Almost all cases of pleural mesothelioma have a direct link to asbestos exposure. For many, this exposure was occupational. They worked (or continue to work) in an industry where they suffered this type of exposure without the proper safety equipment for years. Others lived with loved ones who worked with asbestos or lived near a manufacturing facility.
Proving exposure and documenting your condition are important parts of building a case to pursue a settlement or award. You may be able to take legal action based on your mesothelioma diagnosis.
Your family should not have to pay for expenses related to your treatment or care. The asbestos companies exposed you to their dangerous products, and this led to your disease and diagnosis. They should pay for your care, not you.
You may want to discuss your options for joining the asbestos mass tort with an attorney who knows how to navigate the process and pursue an award in an asbestos cancer case.
Discuss Your Mesothelioma Diagnosis Today
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm does not shy away from tough cases. We will review your mesothelioma asbestos cancer case and explain if you are eligible to pursue compensation. We can help you collect evidence and file your claim or lawsuit.
Our team will represent your best interests every step of the way, and you will pay nothing unless we get a settlement on your behalf.
Call us at (800) 307-3113 for your complimentary case review and consultation with a member of our team.