Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that often has devastating results. It’s important to understand what causes it, what the symptoms are and how it can be treated. Commonly found in older individuals, it’s also important to learn more about any compensation that a person may be due because of contact with asbestos.
To date, the only culprit for this type of cancer is asbestos. Some individuals have inhaled it because of their work conditions. Some may have even ingested it unintentionally, causing it to create inflammation in the body. The risk of diagnosis is often determined based on where a person worked, what his or her job was, and how long the asbestos exposure lasted. When asbestos are inhaled, the fibers begin to attach to some of the delicate lining inside the body, especially in the lungs or even the heart. From there, irritation occurs and over time, the body can develop cancer or tumors. Today, the most common group of individuals that have been diagnosed with this form of cancer are men that were in the military and are currently over the age of 65.
It took a considerable amount of time for the public to realize what was causing mesothelioma. While some patients begin to show symptoms after only ten years, others may take up to fifty years before they begin to display symptoms. Because it takes time for the cancer to develop, most people aren’t diagnosed until they are in stage III or stage IV. Many start with a cough or a wheezing as they breathe. From there, things like shortness of breath, pain in the chest or even abdomen, and finding fluid around the lungs becomes common. These symptoms can also be associated with other respiratory issues. That’s one of the reasons why patients need to mention to their doctors if they have been exposed to asbestos, even if it was several years or even several decades ago. Diagnosis can also be made through a blood test or even an x-ray of the body.
If the cancer is found early enough, surgery can be a treatment option. At this point the tumor, and in some cases, a portion of the body that is being affected can be removed. Some patients have some of their lung removed in order to increase their rate of survival. Most of the time this is the course of action if mesothelioma has been detected early enough. Like other cancers, chemotherapy and radiation can also be done. Sometimes, all three treatment options are combined in order to provide the patient with the best possible outcome. Ideally, patients should be treated by doctors that have experience working with this type of cancer.
The prognosis for those that have been diagnosed later in life tends to be grim. In fact, most of the time the goal is to measure whether or not a patient will survive one year past the point of diagnosis. Slightly less than half of patients reach that one year mark and only a small percentage make it to three years after their initial diagnosis. Older individuals have a lower survival rate. When compared with women, men have a lower survival rate. Finally, the location and type of cancer can also have an effect on the survival rate.
For some that have been diagnosed with the cancer or those that have already passed away, there are legal options to pursue. It helps to consult with a lawyer that specializes in these type of cases as soon as possible to learn whether or not the situation is eligible for some type of settlement. Sometimes a personal injury case can be pursued. Other times a wrongful death claim is the more appropriate option. Because of time limits that are already in place, it’s important to seek out legal advice as soon as possible after diagnosis. It takes time to put together a suit and to see any results.
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