The only confirmed cause of Mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that is composed of millions of fibers that are too small to see with the naked eye.
When a product that contains asbestos is disturbed – installed, removed or repaired – it is likely to shed or release some of these fibers, which are so light that they float in the air for hours or even days. People in the vicinity can breathe in the asbestos fibers without even knowing they are doing so. The asbestos fibers become lodged in the lungs where they can cause the development of Mesothelioma.
This cancer is common among people who work in asbestos mines or work with asbestos products, which were very common in the in the construction of ships and buildings in the 1940s through the 1970s. Mesothelioma is more common compared to the general population, among plumbers, pipe fitters, steamfitters, shipyard workers, electricians and elementary school teachers. Although a cure has not yet been found, researchers are constantly working to find a cure for this form of cancer.
Unfortunately, Mesothelioma Cancer still kills approximately 2,500 to 3,000 people each year in the U.S. Mesothelioma Cancer has been diagnosed at an alarming rate, due to the latency period in which cancer can manifest often up to 50 years after asbestos exposure. Many veterans and others who were exposed to asbestos in the 1940s and 50s are now being diagnosed with this disease. This cancer most often attacks the pleura and is usually fatal. The average life expectancy after a Mesothelioma diagnosis is about 18 months. Mesothelioma treatment centers have also been opened throughout the country to help support those who are living with the illness.
Mesothelioma Prognosis and Symptoms
The early symptoms of Mesothelioma are generally non-specific, and may lead to a delay in diagnosis. Sometimes resembling viral pneumonia, pleural Mesothelioma patients may present with shortness of breath, chest pain and/or persistent cough; some patients show no symptoms at all.
A chest x-ray may show a build-up of fluid or pleural effusion. The right lung is affected 60% of the time, with involvement of both lungs being seen in approximately 5% of patients at the time of diagnosis. Less common symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma include fever, night sweats and weight loss. Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma may include pain or swelling in the abdomen due to a build-up of fluid, nausea, weight loss, bowel obstruction, anemia or swelling of the feet.
Mesothelioma Law Firm in Southern California
If you or someone you love has had potential exposure to asbestos and has any of these symptoms, we strongly encourage you to seek medical treatment immediately and discuss these symptoms with your doctor. Our personal injury law firm in Orange County can assist you in evaluating and protecting you and your family’s legal rights regarding these injuries. Call 949-716-7200 for a free evaluation.