For the thousands of innocent victims affected by asbestos exposure each year, it’s important to know that recourse is possible and legal help is available. Perhaps most importantly, asbestos exposure victims should know that they do not have to be in a financial position to afford legal representation-for valid, qualifying cases, legal fees are paid out of the settlement or trial award received, not the victim’s pocket.
Most people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness-including other types of cancers, asbestosis and pleural effusion-did not even realize that they were at risk. This is because most victims of asbestos exposure did not even realize that they had come into contact with what is known to be a highly toxic and dangerous carcinogen.
Fortunately, there is a silver lining of hope for those who have suffered the physical and financial consequences of negligent and/or illegal asbestos exposure. Recourse and compensation is possible via multiple avenues, including toxic tort and workers’ compensation laws as well as disability claims through the Social Security Administration and (for Veterans) the Department of Veteran Affairs.
PART XI: CHOOSING A DOCTOR AND TREATMENT CENTER FOR MALIGNANT MESOTHELIOMA
Finding out that you have malignant mesothelioma can easily feel like the end of the world. As a “terminal” illness, mesothelioma doesn’t often leave patients with much room for hope. But the reality is, medical science is constantly advancing, leading to new and better treatment methods for cancer and other “incurable” illnesses every day. Therefore, although your mesothelioma prognosis may not seem promising, you should still make sure to get the very best care and treatment possible.
Selecting a Doctor and Treatment Center
Because malignant mesothelioma is a relatively rare condition, affecting only about 3000 people in the U.S. annually, it is extremely important to find a doctor who specializes in the disease and its treatment. All oncologists, doctors who specialize in the treatment of cancer, are not necessarily mesothelioma experts, so you should do your own research and ask for referrals in order to locate the best physician available for your particular illness.
Typically, the top malignant mesothelioma doctors will work near or out of cancer treatment centers, which are primarily located in major U.S. cities like New York, Chicago and Houston. To get the best treatment available, you will very possibly have to travel to one of these locations and stay during the length of your treatment.
Cancer Treatment Studies and Drug Trials
Another key advantage of receiving treatment at a cancer-specialty hospital or medical center is access to mesothelioma clinical trials. Patients who meet the screening criteria for participation can volunteer to take part in medical studies, trying out the newest and most advanced treatment methods available. Clinical trials are conducted on an ongoing basis, year-round at different facilities all over the country, but room is generally quite limited. So you should talk to your doctor immediately about which ones you may be eligible for and try to get a space as soon as possible after diagnosis.