While it can be difficult to know if you have mesothelioma lung cancer or another disease, you may experience symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and accumulation of fluid in your chest, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. A doctor can order tests to find out whether your symptoms are due to mesothelioma or another condition.
Causes of Mesothelioma Lung Cancer
For decades, asbestos fibers were mined and used in construction materials, automotive parts, fire-resistant clothing, appliances, cookware, cosmetics, and other household items. Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma lung cancer, but symptoms can take years and even decades to appear. That can make it difficult to figure out when and how an individual came into contact with the substance.
In many cases, individuals who have mesothelioma lung cancer could have been exposed to asbestos at their jobs. The disease has claimed the lives of people who worked in fields like:
- Industrial and automotive
Members of their families may have been exposed to asbestos when individuals who worked around the carcinogen brought home fibers on their clothes or bodies. Some mesothelioma lung cancer patients were exposed to asbestos because common household products contained it.
Diagnosing Mesothelioma Lung Cancer
The most common form of the disease is pleural mesothelioma. That type of cancer affects the pleura, or the lining around the lungs. According to Cancer.net, 75% to 80% of mesothelioma patients have pleural mesothelioma.
The only way to know if you have mesothelioma lung cancer is to receive a diagnosis from a doctor. A doctor may order a series of tests to figure out if you have mesothelioma lung cancer or if your symptoms are related to something else. A physician may remove fluid from the area around your lungs using a needle and analyze it to look for the presence of cancer cells.
If the test detects cancer, the doctor may follow it up with a biopsy, which involves removing a small piece of tissue with a needle, a thin tube inserted through an incision, or possibly surgery. That tissue can then be analyzed to find out if you have mesothelioma lung cancer.
A physician may order blood tests to check the functioning of your other organs. A pulmonary function test can provide insight into how well your lungs are working.
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How a Doctor Determines the Severity of Mesothelioma Lung Cancer
Doctors often use one or more imaging tests to find out if a patient has mesothelioma lung cancer and, if so, how advanced the disease is. Those tests include x-rays, CT scans that combine several x-rays to create a 3-D picture of the inside of the body, MRIs that produce images using magnetic fields, and PET scans that use a radiolabeled sugar substance given via an injection or a pill to detect the presence of cancer.
The survival rate for mesothelioma overall is low, but several factors can affect how long a particular individual with the disease may survive. People who are diagnosed before the mesothelioma has progressed to an advanced stage have a higher survival rate, and those who are diagnosed when they are relatively young tend to live longer than those who are older when they receive a diagnosis. Your doctor will recommend a course of treatment based on the stage of your illness.
Get Legal Help to Seek Justice
Learning that you have mesothelioma lung cancer can be devastating. The disease is painful and difficult to treat. In addition to physical suffering, mesothelioma can cause emotional pain to the patient and family members. A person with the disease may be unable to work and enjoy spending time with loved ones. Even completing simple, everyday tasks can be difficult.
Patients and their loved ones may struggle to pay medical bills, or even to cover basic living expenses. All those factors can cause tremendous suffering for an entire family, as well as fear about the future.
Many people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma lung cancer developed the disease because they were exposed to asbestos, often decades before they became ill. Asbestos was widely used, even after companies were aware of the health hazards associated with it.
If you have mesothelioma lung cancer, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you seek justice. A member of our team can talk to you about your situation, and may recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit. If the company responsible for your illness went bankrupt, you may be able to seek compensation from an asbestos trust fund, according to the Rand Institute for Civil Justice. Numerous businesses created those funds to deal with large numbers of mesothelioma lawsuits. Call our office at (800) 794-0444 to learn more about your legal options.