If you have mesothelioma lung cancer, you may experience fluid buildup in your chest and chest pain, and your lungs may be unable to expand as much as they normally would. According to the American Cancer Society, you may also have other symptoms of mesothelioma lung cancer, such as fatigue, fever, weight loss, excessive sweating, and problems with blood clotting, which can occur with mesothelioma that affects the lungs and other organs.
Mesothelioma and Its Causes
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is usually caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction materials and vehicle parts in the past and is still used in some products today. Ships also used asbestos, and military veterans, particularly in the Navy, may have been exposed to it during their service.
Asbestos was used in fireproof clothing, which put firefighters at risk of exposure. It was also common at commercial and industrial locations, such as oil refineries, power plants, steel mills, chemical plants, and textile factories, and mining operations. Many common household products, such as appliances, potholders, cigarette filters, hair dryers, and cosmetics, included asbestos as an ingredient.
Asbestos exposure is the main risk factor for patients who have mesothelioma, often having been exposed decades before they became ill. Smoking, radiation exposure, and a genetic mutation are other causes. Patients may have come into contact with asbestos through their work, or they may have been exposed by family members who brought fibers home on their clothing or bodies. Patients also may have used products that contained the carcinogen.
How Can a Doctor Diagnose Mesothelioma Lung Cancer?
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, between 75% and 80% of mesothelioma cases involve pleural mesothelioma. That form of the disease affects the pleura, or the lining around the lungs.
You may experience one or more symptoms of mesothelioma lung cancer. The pleura may thicken, which may reduce your lung capacity. Fluid may build up in your chest—a symptom known as a pleural effusion. You may also have chest pain. If you have been experiencing some of these symptoms of mesothelioma lung cancer, see a doctor.
Your physician will ask questions about your symptoms and medical history, conduct a physical exam, and will most likely order tests to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma lung cancer or to figure out if another condition is causing your symptoms.
The doctor may have fluid from your lungs tested to check for cancer cells. If that test comes back positive, the physician may order a biopsy. That procedure involves removing a small amount of tissue using a needle, a thin tube inserted through an incision, or sometimes surgery. A pathologist will then analyze the sample to find out if you have mesothelioma.
If those tests come back positive, your physician may use other tests to figure out how advanced your mesothelioma lung cancer is. Blood tests, lung function tests, and imaging tests (X-rays, a CT scan, an MRI, and/or a PET scan) may provide useful information that can help the doctor figure out the stage of your cancer. Your physician can then suggest a treatment plan.
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How a Mesothelioma Lung Cancer Lawyer May Be Able to Help
If you have been experiencing symptoms of mesothelioma lung cancer and test results support that diagnosis, you may face a series of expensive medical treatments. You may be unable to work, and may struggle to keep up with the bills for regular expenses. You may also be unable to care for your family and to participate in activities that you used to enjoy. Those problems can place an emotional strain on the entire family.
If you have received a diagnosis of mesothelioma lung cancer, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help. By assisting other mesothelioma patients, we have compiled a database with information on many products and businesses that exposed members of the public to asbestos. We may be able to use that information to help you figure out when and how you were exposed, even if it happened decades ago.
Our team may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the company responsible for your asbestos exposure. If that business has declared bankruptcy, we may be able to seek a financial award from an asbestos trust fund set up to compensate victims.
Mesothelioma is often diagnosed after the disease has progressed, and the survival rate is generally low—around 10% to 20%, according to the American Cancer Society. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we understand that when it comes to mesothelioma cases, time is of the essence. Contact our office today at (800) 794-0444 to speak with a member of our team about your mesothelioma lung cancer diagnosis and to discuss ways that we may be able to help you.