What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer with a low survival rate, and it’s usually caused by asbestos inhalation. It develops in membranes inside the body:
- The pleura, which surrounds your lungs and chest
- The peritoneum, which surrounds your abdominal cavity
- The pericardium, which lines your heart
Around 3,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with mesothelioma, though the National Organization for Rare Diseases notes that occurrences likely exceed the official count. Because the cancer is so uncommon, patients may be misdiagnosed.
Mesothelioma is difficult to spot in its initial stages but spreads quickly; even among patients who can access and respond to treatment, the disease often causes death within a year.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Especially in its early stages, mesothelioma symptoms may be difficult to spot. Because many of them are common to other conditions, doctors and/or patients may confuse them or downplay their importance. However, anyone who has been exposed to asbestos should contact a doctor if they experience:
- Loss of strength
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
If you have or think you have been exposed to asbestos in the past, let your doctor know when you report your symptoms.
Depending on the type of mesothelioma a patient has, they may also notice specific symptoms corresponding to the growth’s location.
Have You Developed Mesothelioma Due to Asbestos Exposure?
Though asbestos has been phased out of many products, the material persists in our environment. Contaminated products, old buildings, and certain workplaces may contain asbestos, which is dangerous in any amount. Its small, sharp fibers can be easily inhaled and become stuck in patients’ lungs, putting them at risk for many health problems down the line. Even worse, most cases of asbestos-caused disease will not show up until many years after the exposure. Patients may find themselves fighting chronic and even deadly conditions as they age.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos is probably to blame. 8 in 10 cases of the disease have been linked with the substance. There is no “safe” amount to inhale; even brief exposures have been linked to adverse health outcomes. If another party exposed you to asbestos, either due to negligence or disregard for your health, you may be able to recover compensation.
Asbestos Exposure and You
Asbestos has become insidious in our lives, affecting everyone from homeowners to service members to construction workers. Though the biggest health risk comes from elongated exposure to high levels of the substance, even a brief or one-time exposure can have fatal consequences. Unfortunately, many items made or contaminated with asbestos endanger us in our day-to-day lives:
- Cement and plaster
- Shingles and siding
- Ceiling and floor tiles
- Fire-resistant fabrics
- Elements of automotive brake and transmission systems
Anyone who lives in an old building could be breathing in asbestos fibers every day. Laborers may also be exposed to asbestos, which appears in some soils and rocks as well as manufactured goods. At-risk vocations include:
- Renovation and/or demolition of older buildings
- Mining and/or processing rocks
- Working with oft-contaminated materials such as talc and vermiculite
- Repairing or demolishing vehicles
- Serving on or renovating old Navy ships
Other manufacturing jobs, especially those that use older and/or fire-, heat-, or electricity-resistant materials, could also be to blame for an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma.
Anyone who works in proximity to asbestos can spread its harmful effects further, without even knowing. Asbestos is a secondhand hazard for the families of those who spend their days around the material. Small particles can attach to clothes and may become airborne later. Because asbestos is so dangerous, even the amount accidentally brought home can cause serious health complications.
Because of the known risk, consumers expect new products to be completely asbestos-free. Unfortunately, recent recalls have identified multiple items contaminated by the substance. Talc and asbestos deposits often occur together, so when the former is used in goods, the latter may accompany it. Asbestos has been found in a range of products including:
- Baby powder
- Cosmetics, including those aimed at children
- Supplements and medications sold in pill form
The only way for consumers to know if they’re at risk is by paying attention to recalls—at which point they have likely already been exposed.
Failure to Warn
Scientists have known about the dangers of asbestos since the 1920s. Though the material was popular among manufacturers for its resistance to flame and electricity, when asbestos miners and factory workers exposed to the substance began to show similar symptoms, doctors took note. They coined the term “asbestosis” as a blanket diagnosis for the problems patients experienced.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) first issued regulations for workplace asbestos exposure in 1971. Nearly 40 years later, workers still face exposure. Companies that continue to endanger their employees in this way are making an irresponsible choice. We believe they should do what they can to correct this negligence.
What Are My Options?
Many others have spoken to lawyers after a mesothelioma diagnosis and received large settlements. According to Mealey’s Litigation Report:
- Settlements average between $1 million and $1.4 million.
- Juries award an average of $2.4 million when defendants are found guilty of causing asbestos exposure.
No one can dispute that mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. If you have been diagnosed and think a company is to blame for your exposure, talk to one of our Mesothelioma Lawyers now.
Contact Monge & Associates at (800) 860-8021 with your mesothelioma questions.
Know Your Rights After an Asbestos Exposure
If you were exposed to asbestos, even once, and develop mesothelioma later in life, you have the right to request compensation. Even secondhand contact with asbestos can result in disease. Asbestos was much more common in the past—and as mesothelioma may appear decades after exposure, you should not discount prior encounters.
Because treatment requires a specialist and multiple therapies may be recommended, medical bills can quickly accumulate. When fighting cancer, this is the last thing anyone wants to worry about. These costs should be the responsibility of the company that exposed you to asbestos either through unsafe workplaces or contaminated products. We can help you fight for what you deserve.
Reach out now if you’re looking for support in a mesothelioma case. You can message us or call (800) 860-8021 to get started.