Mesothelioma Questions

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a medical term used to describe a type of cancerous tumor that develops in the mesothelial cells of an organ. Mesothelial cells are cells that form a protective lining over the lungs, heart and abdominal organs. Most cases of mesothelioma develop in the pleura (commonly called Pleural Meosthelioma). The pleura is a thin membrane found between the lungs and the chest cavity which provides a lubricated surface so that the lungs do not rub against the chest walls. Since the pleura is centrally located in the body, cancer cells that develop here can interfere with breathing and spread rapidly to other organs. Mesothelioma usually spreads rapidly through the mesothelial cells to the heart and abdominal organs. The life span is typically 24 months after diagnosis, but it depends on what stage the cancer is detected, the health of the patient and other factors.

What causes it?

Nearly all cases of mesothelioma are related to asbestos fibers which were inhaled at work. However many people were exposed to asbestos indirectly such as people in the home of the worker including wives and children. There are about 3,000 to 4,000 new cases each year. Studies predict that there could be 300,000 cases before 2030. 

Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, but it takes many years for the cancer to develop. Mesothelioma has a latency period after asbestos exposure that ranges from 15 to 50 years. This means that someone who worked in a factory with asbestos 40 years ago could be developing mesothelioma now. People who were exposed to asbestos at work should be tested regularly for mesothelioma.

Diagnosis of Mesothelioma

The onset of mesothelioma symptoms usually takes a long time. The first symptom is often a constant chest pain. This pain is later accompanies by difficulty breathing due to an accumulation of fluid in the chest. Other symptoms include coughing, fever and weight loss. Mesothelioma can be diagnosed by your doctor with a chest CT-scan.

What Needs to Happen?

After a positive mesothelioma diagnosis, your doctor will discuss the available treatment options. Many newer treatments promise to improve patients quality of life and add several years of life. What may not be explained the that the disease is not a random act of nature, but the result of a dangerous product that was used despite evidence of the harm it would cause. Companies have had to pay workers billions of dollars to compensate them and their families for this wanton disregard of human life and safety.

Will there be a lawsuit?

Most people are reluctant to take legal action. However, Mesothelioma presents a nearly 100% certainty that someone or a company is at fault. If the person's work history can be traced, the likelihood is that a very large settlement awaits the victim. Your attorney can explain the details, but most claims settle out of court very quickly, unlike many other types of cases.

How much will I get?

The amount of the settlements varies greatly, but usually start at half million to several million. The award is based on many factors such as the amount of funds available, the duration and location of the asbestos exposure, the persons overall health. Your attorney will know how to maximize the recovery to get the most compensation for you and your family.

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