How Does Mesothelioma Occur & What Impact Does It Have?
Imagine spending your life, going to work at a job you’re proud of, but one day, you’re diagnosed with a serious condition. You don’t know how you got the condition, but you are left dealing with the aftermath long down the road in life.
This is the unfortunate reality for around 3,000 people each year in the United States who are diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer most often caused by asbestos exposure. Typically, these individuals are exposed while on the job but they may not even know the cause.
It’s important for individuals to understand what causes mesothelioma, how it develops, and the long-term impact it can have on any who is exposed to it.
Our mesothelioma attorneys provide this information to you for a number of reasons. First, we want to ensure individuals know the symptoms so they can determine if they need medical help. Second, we want those impacted to know what options they have if they have been exposed.
What are the Main Causes of Mesothelioma?
One of the most common causes—and probably the main risk—of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. This is a group of minerals compiling into tiny fibers that are typically found in rocks and soil throughout the world. It’s also found in a number of different materials used in various industries.
Mostly, workers in these industries are most susceptible to exposure because when fibers are activated and inhaled, the asbestos can enter the lungs, stay in the airways, or enter the pleural lining of the lung and chest wall.
The cells of the pleura are injured as a result of the fiber inhalation. It can also be damaging to lung cells and cause lung cancer.
In normal situations, individuals can be exposed to a small amount of naturally occurring asbestos just by walking outside. However, there’s more likely to be exposure when individuals are involved in certain workplaces and the fibers break down.
Other potential causes of mesothelioma can include the following:
- Zeolites: These are minerals that are related to asbestos, also found in certain rocks and soils in various parts of the world.
- Radiation: This is a rare cause of mesothelioma, but some reports have shown the development of mesothelioma in people who receive high doses of radiation.
Mesothelioma may take years to develop, so it is more commonly diagnosed in older individuals who have been around asbestos exposure for a number of years.
Which Occupations are Most at Risk for Exposure to Asbestos?
There are so many materials and products using asbestos fibers that when they are broken and pushed into the air, they can be inhaled. The individuals working with these products can be exposed to asbestos and enough of this can lead to mesothelioma.
The most common occupations at risk of asbestos exposure include, but are not limited to:
- Heating and air conditioning experts
- Iron works
- Construction workers
Individuals who work in plants, shipyards, mills, and refineries are at risk of asbestos exposure as well. In most situations, mesothelioma has a latency period, so it typically shows up after decades with many people being diagnosed between 50 and 70 years of age. The longer a person is exposed to asbestos (15-20+ years), the more likely they are to develop mesothelioma.
Why Was Asbestos So Commonly Used?
Before 1975, asbestos was a common fiber used in materials for construction, specifically for insulation used to line walls in buildings. This is because the fiber has a high heat and fire resistance, making it a popular choice in products.
They are flexible fibers, often woven into clothing that is also flame resistant. This made exposure a possibility for others who came in contact with the clothing, such as the families of many industrial workers.
What Impact Does Mesothelioma Have on a Person?
There are three forms of mesothelioma that may occur, all depending on the location of the cancer. There is pleural mesothelioma that occurs in the chest cavity, peritoneal mesothelioma in the abdomen, and pericardial mesothelioma in the heart lining. Each may be diagnosed through a number of symptoms.
The symptoms to be aware of include:
- Pleural mesothelioma: This condition may be associated with long-term coughing with blood, chest pains, shortness of breath, weight loss, and fever.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma: This condition may be associated with abdominal swelling and pains, fever, weight loss, tissue buildup in the abdomen, and bowel obstruction.
- Pericardial mesothelioma: This condition may be associated with pericardial tumors spreading over the surface of the heart, superior vena cava, aorta, and pulmonary trunk. While this is a rare form of mesothelioma, there are few treatment options available.
What Legal Options are Available?
The legal options concerning mesothelioma are dependent on a number of factors. Typically, when an individual has been exposed to asbestos for an extended period of time, diagnosed at an older age, and show signs of the condition, they were more likely exposed in the workplace.
If this is the case and no safety measure were put into place to protect workers from exposure, this may be constituted as a form of negligence and the person responsible for the exposure should be held accountable.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should know that you have options. These options allow you to seek compensation—but more importantly, seek justice against the parties responsible for the exposure.
Why Hiring a Mesothelioma Attorney Is Important
Because of the latency period of mesothelioma, many people do not even recognize that they have a condition, nor that it was caused by exposure to work they did over 20 years or so in their lifetime. Understanding the causes from a legal professional can help the situation.
You deserve to take legal action, and having a mesothelioma lawyer on your side means having the necessary resources to guide you through the complex matters that lie ahead. This is where our team at Shrader & Associates L.L.P. comes in to help.
We have a carefully selected team with the knowledge, experience, and skill to help you navigate the legal matters involving mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. If you’ve suffered harm, you can have a team member discuss your options with you in a free case evaluation.
We can take a look at your tests to see if there is a presence of cancer, discuss your past work history to determine if you were exposed to asbestos, and work to determine who is at fault. When all is said and done, we can identify all risk factors including age, gender, and past exposure to determine if you have a case.
Keep in mind, you typically have two years from the date of diagnosis to file a claim. Similarly, if you are a loved one of someone who passed away due to mesothelioma, you have typically have two years from the date of the death. Statutes vary throughout the states, so it’s best to speak with our team to determine if you are eligible to seek compensation.
Call us today at (877) 958-7920 or contact us online for your free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis so you can have peace of mind knowing you don’t pay any legal expenses unless we win on your behalf.