This month we will cover two sides of mesothelioma: the legal elements and the medical elements. Each side of this disease can be heavily daunting. One side of the coin gives you a diagnosis that in a large majority of the cases is fatal within 2 years. There are many obstacles to cover to prolong life and protect and preserve the quality of life that remains. The other side of the coin represents the law and the illegal exposure to asbestos that was the cause of your deadly illness. Most will want to legally pursue options to hold the parties of this exposure responsible and go after monetary compensation.
Your first inclination about asbestos-related illness will come from a medical diagnosis. Most people are devastated and do not know exactly where to begin. Finding a medical professional or specialist near you will be your first priority. Your next priority will be understanding the legal implications of the negligence of others afflicting you with a deadly disease and you will want to take legal recourse.
Both sides of this coin represent a battle – each with specific steps and understandings you must comprehend and master in order to win the war. This months’ blogs will help to empower you with information to cover both fronts.
All victims diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma share the same inherent primary risk associated with the development of the disease – prolonged or heavy exposure to asbestos. This substance is a fibrous, fire and heat resistant mineral that was vastly used in building materials, automotive parts and military vessels for decades.
Individuals that worked in industries that used or manufactured asbestos products, or who have mined asbestos are at the greatest risk of developing an asbestos-related illnesses like malignant pleural mesothelioma. These occupations may have included machinists, automotive mechanics, construction workers, U.S. Navy veterans, iron workers, electricians, boilermakers, shipyard workers, and plumbers. Even family members who lived with people working in these occupations could also be at risk for exposure. The asbestos dust brought home on clothes and shoes has been proven to create secondaryasbestos exposure.
Because malignant pleural mesothelioma usually has a high latency period, it may not be discovered or correctly diagnosed until 20 or 40 years after the original exposure. This means that people who may have worked around asbestos up to 40 years ago or more could be diagnosed with mesothelioma today.
Pleural mesothelioma is identified when cancer cells attack the mesothelium surrounding the lungs. This protective layer allows for organs, like the lungs, to slide easily against each other when they move, such as when the lungs expand and contract. When this motion is disturbed, breathing becomes more and more complicated. Malignant pleural mesothelioma symptoms always center around shortness of breath, coughing, pain in the lower back or side of the chest, fever, hoarseness and fatigue.
As this cancer progresses, symptoms may also include lumps under the skin, as well as expiring blood when coughing. When undetected or untreated, like any other cancer, it will progress rapidly and spread to other regions of the body.