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.
Law regarding mesothelioma was realized by defined legislature when there was a concern for coal minors. In 1969, there was a Black-Lung Bill that was passed by congress specifically dealing with the ailments of coal minors but it left the back door open for a discussion of related issues concerning asbestos. It was at this time that asbestos was finally acknowledged as a danger and there was a recognized need for business reform to be established. A rare type of cancer that is a result of asbestos exposure is peritoneal mesothelioma and staging for this disease falls in line with staging for other cancers.
Peritoneal mesothelioma and staging is rarely diagnosed – only 500 cases on average per year in the United States. This cancer affects the thin cell walls surrounding the abdominal cavity, known as the peritoneum. The membrane is a lubricant within the abdominal cavity to help surrounding muscles contract and expand during normal body function. Usually, in stage 1, mesothelioma cancer is centralized in the abdomen. Surgery is the recommended option as the cancer can most likely be entirely removed. Progression to stage 2 signifies that the mesothelioma has spread but is still contained in the peritoneum. Stage 3 means that the cancer has metastasized to other organs such as the liver and colon. In the final stage 4, the mesothelioma has spread to other organs and a cure is not foreseen.
Each year, approximately 3000 victims of asbestos exposure are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma and staging have only added to the number of asbestos lawsuits being filed. The major medical issue concerning exposure to asbestos is that victims usually do not present severe mesothelioma symptoms until decades after the initial exposure, allowing the disease to grow and damage organs without mercy. Basically, it is a terminal diagnosis.