Mesothelioma: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Almost 9,000 people each year in the United States will be affected by mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that attacks the thin layer of tissue covering internal organs. Mesothelioma is a fatal disease, almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, a heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral woven into fabrics. The asbestos industry hid the dangers of exposure to asbestos for decades and, as a result, many workers regularly worked with the serious carcinogen. Here’s a quick overview of the symptoms, causes and treatment of mesothelioma.

Symptoms of mesothelioma

Symptoms of mesothelioma don’t surface until 20 to 50 years after asbestos exposure. However, when they do, they manifest themselves as breathing or digestive problems. Breathing problems such as shortness of breath and incessant coughing are indicative of pleural mesothelioma, which attacks the lining of the chest wall and lungs. Other symptoms include rapid, unexplained weight loss and lumps of tissue on the chest.

Causes of mesothelioma

The leading cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos in the workplace, particularly in the heating and construction industries. However, in a small minority of individuals, the disease has surfaced when there was no direct asbestos exposure. Similarly, spouses or others who handle and wash asbestos-contaminated clothes have contracted mesothelioma.

Diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma

Unfortunately, mesothelioma is ultimately a fatal disease. However, if caught early, it is treatable and the disease’s course can be significantly slowed. More than half of mesothelioma patients die within 18 months of diagnosis, but about 20% of mesothelioma sufferers live five years or more. Depending on how early the disease is caught, treatment for mesothelioma involves a variety of options, including drugs, chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact a qualified Tucson personal injury attorney immediately. You are most likely entitled to monetary damages if you can identify whose asbestos you worked around, and a personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights, sort through complex legal issues and get you the compensation you deserve.

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