According to the Mayo Clinic, the following symptoms are what happens in the final stages of different types of mesothelioma:
- Pleural mesothelioma – The final stages of pleural mesothelioma that surrounds the lungs include painful coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, unexplained weight loss, and lumps of tissue under the skin in the chest area.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma – The final stages of peritoneal mesothelioma that occurs in the abdomen include severe abdominal pain and swelling, nausea, and weight loss.
- Pericardial mesothelioma – The final stages of pericardial mesothelioma that occurs around the heart tissue include difficulty breathing and chest pain.
- Tunica vaginalis mesothelioma – The final stages of tunica vaginalis mesothelioma that affects testicular tissue may be pain near the tumor or swelling.
How Mesothelioma Develops
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, which can lay dormant in the body for decades. When mesothelioma cancer begins to develop, it is typically aggressive and deadly. Research from the Annals of Translational Medicine indicates that some people have a greater risk of developing mesothelioma over their lifetime. Mesothelioma is currently linked to asbestos exposure from the mining, use, or processing of asbestos. People who suffered substantial exposure to asbestos include the following:
- Workers in asbestos mining plants
- Workers in asbestos processing plants
- Those who live near any asbestos mining or processing plant
- Firefighters and construction workers working in older homes with asbestos
- Workers in industries (prior to the 1980s) that contained asbestos materials including power plants, chemical plants, auto mechanics, shipyards, building construction, boiler workers, insulation workers, military facilities, or home renovation businesses
- Homeowners who self-renovated their houses containing asbestos
- World Trade Center workers following the 9/11 terror attacks
No Safe Asbestos Exposure
Research published in the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences indicates that workers who suffered exposure to asbestos inhaled asbestos particles that traveled to the lungs or the peritoneal membrane through the lymphatic system. At this point, the asbestos fibers became trapped and eventually led to inflammation, irritation, and cellular changes, resulting in cancer. While researchers are uncertain why asbestos fibers take so long to develop into cancer, the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma cancers appears quite clear.
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Mesothelioma is considered a fatal disease. Therefore, the final stages of mesothelioma often result in death. However, some factors can impact the life expectancy of a person diagnosed in the final stages, including whether they are in good overall health, if they were a smoker, their age, how well they responded to treatment for their cancer, and the type of mesothelioma they have. However, statistics from the American Cancer Society show that patients who suffer from the final stages of mesothelioma have just an 8 percent survival rate. This may improve as advancements in medicine and treatments continue.
Final Stages of Mesothelioma
Unfortunately, the final stages of mesothelioma remain uncomfortable for many patients. Depending on the exact type of mesothelioma, patients typically endure pain near the area of cancer, as well as difficulty breathing, chest pain, painful coughing, or abdominal pain and swelling. They will likely need additional care to make them comfortable. Many receive hospice care at this time. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, a patient entering the final weeks of their life may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Exhaustion and weakness, including the need to sleep a great deal
- Weight loss or muscle thinning
- Little to no appetite or interest in doing things previously considered important
- Decreased ability to concentrate or talk to others
- Slower breathing (or noisy breathing depending on the type of mesothelioma)
- Cool skin that may turn a bluish color
- Loss of bladder and bowel control, as well as a decreasing amount of urine
- Dry lips and mouth
- Confusion regarding people, the place they are in, or their surroundings
- Repetitive and involuntary movements
- Hallucinations including being welcomed by people who have already died, preparing for some sort of traveling, or preparing for a trip
- Loss of consciousness, or drifting in and out of consciousness
Consider How an Asbestos Attorney Can Help
If you or your loved one received a diagnosis of mesothelioma related to exposure to asbestos, you may have the legal right to pursue compensation for injuries and pain and suffering. Consider contacting our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 to learn how an asbestos attorney can help you understand your legal rights and how you may receive compensation for your mesothelioma diagnosis.