Many people believe that mesothelioma is slow-growing cancer, but this myth likely occurs because of how long it takes the disease to develop following asbestos exposure. In reality, malignant mesothelioma grows and spreads aggressively. This makes the cancer difficult to catch early and hard to treat effectively. It is rare that a patient receives an early diagnosis, and doctors can remove the malignancy while it is small and contained.
Asbestos-Related Mesothelioma Has a Long Latency Period
Malignant mesothelioma, a very aggressive form of cancer, has an extremely long latency period. This means there is an extended period of time between when a person inhales asbestos fibers and when they first develop a mesothelioma neoplasm. The range for latency periods in malignant mesothelioma can be 25 to 70 years.
While it appears the amount of exposure does play a role in the length of the latency period, there is no way to accurately predict how long it might be before someone develops cancer.
There Is a Process that Takes Place, Triggering Malignant Mesothelioma Development
There is a lengthy process that must take place before inhaled asbestos fibers can trigger malignant mesothelioma growth, which makes it seem like it is a slow-growing cancer. However, the inhaled asbestos fibers first induce changes in the person’s DNA. This leads to changes in the mesothelial cells and macrophages that cause them to secrete mutation-causing elements.
When there are many asbestos fibers in the lungs, the body’s chronic inflammatory process also kicks in. This is an attempt to protect the body from these foreign invaders, but, in reality, this process also plays a role in the development of malignant mesothelioma.
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Malignant Mesothelioma Is Not a Slow Growing Cancer, It Is Aggressive
Mesothelioma can have a latency period of several decades, which makes it seem like mesothelioma is a slow-growing cancer. However, it actually grows quickly and advances rapidly once it develops. By the time the person reports their symptoms to their doctor and receives a diagnosis, it may be too late to treat the cancer at an early stage.
Malignant mesothelioma advances in weeks or months. This makes routine screening unreliable, and there are few advantages of regularly screening for the cancer unless the person has an extremely high risk of developing the condition. Contrast this with colon cancer or cervical cancer, where doctors monitor any possible developments once a decade or once a year, respectively.
Because mesothelioma is a fast-moving, aggressive cancer, it is necessary to treat it with an aggressive plan that may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and other treatments. Still, the average prognosis for someone with malignant mesothelioma is poor. Most live only two to five years following diagnosis.
You May Be Eligible to Pursue Compensation Based on Your Mesothelioma Diagnosis
If you have a diagnosis of mesothelioma and have a history of asbestos exposure, you may have a valid claim for recovering compensation. There is money available for those who endured exposure to asbestos at work or in other situations and later developed this aggressive type of cancer.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our team can help you understand your rights and pursue compensation on your behalf if you qualify. We always work based on contingency fee. You never pay us anything out of your pocket, and there are no upfront charges. We do not get paid until we get a settlement or award on your behalf.
Talk to an Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma Lawsuit Lawyer Today
An attorney from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can discuss your asbestos exposure and mesothelioma case with you today. We offer free case reviews. Call (800) 794-0444 now to learn more or for your initial consultation with a member of our team.