Attorney at Law

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that forms in the thin tissue that lines the patient’s internal organs, known as the mesothelium. Mesothelioma is most commonly associated with asbestos exposure. 

Cancer is a disease in which a mutation causes the body's cells to reproduce uncontrollably. There are many types of cancers affecting a variety of organs and tissues. Some are easier to manage than others, but mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive and fatal cancer. In most cases, curing mesothelioma is not possible. 

Asbestos is a fibrous, silicon-based mineral that can be found in either amphibole or serpentine forms. Asbestos has been used in a variety of building materials and machine components where it was utilized for its heat-resistant and anti-corrosive properties. However, asbestos has also been linked to health complications, including pleural diseases, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma comes in four distinct forms: pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma, and tunica vaginalis mesothelioma. These mesothelioma types manifest in the tissue surrounding the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testicles, respectively.

Approximately 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed annually. Mesothelioma has a latency period of between 20 and 50 years before it develops into detectable symptoms.

Key Takeaways

  • Mesothelioma is a rare and highly aggressive form of cancer that manifests in the mesothelial tissue of the body.
  • Mesothelioma can manifest in the lungs, the abdomen, the heart, or the testicles.
  • Asbestos exposure has been linked to mesothelioma, with evidence demonstrating that pleural mesothelioma can develop as asbestos fibers settle in the lungs and repeatedly cause irritation and damage.
  • If you have been exposed to asbestos and have later developed mesothelioma, an experienced Personal Injury attorney may be able to improve the outcome of your case by utilizing experience and expert knowledge.
  • Mass torts have frequently been utilized to address the extensive damage caused by asbestos exposure, specifically in relation to mesothelioma cases.

Asbestos, Mesothelioma, and Personal Injury Law

Asbestos is a recognized carcinogen or cancer-causing material that is connected to several cancers. According to the U.S. Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of mesothelioma cases are caused by asbestos exposure. Additionally, up to 75% of mesothelioma cases are pleural mesothelioma. 

The primary vector for asbestos exposure is typically either structural or industrial. Structural asbestos exposure occurs when asbestos particles within walls, insulation, ceilings, or other residential or commercial structures come loose and become suspended in the air. One way that structural asbestos can be removed is through asbestos abatement.

Industrial asbestos exposure occurs when a worker is exposed to asbestos. The most common industries with exposure to asbestos include auto manufacturers, shipbuilders, talc miners, and asbestos miners.

The symptoms of mesothelioma vary by the region of the body where the cancer develops. Pleural mesothelioma can cause symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Painful coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
  • Unexplained weight loss

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Nausea
  • Unexplained weight loss

Pericardial mesothelioma may present with chest pains and difficulty breathing while tunica vaginalis mesothelioma may present with some similar symptoms to testicular cancer.

Once symptoms of mesothelioma appear, the next step is to seek a diagnosis. Suspicions of mesothelioma can be confirmed through a number of diagnostic tests including an X-ray, a CT scan, a biopsy, or even through aspiration, though this method is not the most accurate testing method.

Once mesothelioma has been diagnosed, treatment can begin as quickly as possible. As mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer, it can quickly metastasize. Depending on the severity, treatments can include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or targeted therapy.

Individuals who have developed mesothelioma have likely been exposed to asbestos. Those who identify how they have been exposed may be able to file a legal claim to recover the costs of medical and other expenses.

Mesothelioma and Tort Cases

Those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure may have the opportunity to seek compensation and hold parties responsible for harm. Companies, manufacturers, suppliers and other entities involved in the production or distribution of asbestos-containing products may be hit with tort claims. These lawsuits are generally considered product liability or personal injury claims. In these cases, the harmed individual claims that the defendants negligently exposed them to asbestos or failed to provide adequate health warnings about potential risks. Crucial evidence such as medical records, workplace documentation, asbestos exposure details and expert testimony often play a significant role in these cases. 

Due to the fact that numerous individuals may have claims against the same defendants, mass torts are common amongst mesothelioma claims. Mass torts allow the victims to consolidate their cases, streamline legal proceedings and share resources.

Bottom Line

If you have been exposed to any form of asbestos and have developed any cancers, including mesothelioma or asbestosis, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the costs of medical expenses, pain, suffering, or lost wages. In order to file and prevail in your personal injury lawsuit, you will need the help of an experienced Personal Injury Attorney.

With their legal expertise, trial tactics, and expert witnesses, your Personal Injury attorney will be able to zealously advocate for you in order to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Additionally, since Personal Injury attorneys work on contingency, if you don’t win, you don’t pay.

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