Mesothelioma is a deadly type of cancer caused by exposure to a mineral fiber called asbestos, which was once commonly used for many purposes, such as shipbuilding or concrete manufacturing. Mesothelioma affects the mesothelium, a lining which covers the lungs, chest cavity, and internal organs. When cancer occurs in the mesothelium—that is, when the mesothelium cells start dividing uncontrollably—mesothelioma has developed.
Mesothelioma is notorious for its long latency period. This means that mesothelioma symptoms may not begin to show up until 30 or more years after someone is exposed to asbestos.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing and treating mesothelioma are tricky processes. Many mesothelioma symptoms are nonspecific, including:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
In order to truly diagnose mesothelioma, doctors need a complete medical history. Then, x-ray tests, MRIs, CAT scans, or other procedures are used to confirm the diagnosis.
Mesothelioma Treatment is also difficult. As with most types of cancer, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are major options, though their effectiveness varies from patient to patient. Though experiment therapies are constantly being researched, no definitive solution has been found. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is a very dangerous cancer – especially because it often goes unnoticed until it is already fairly advanced. According to studies, five-year survival rates for mesothelioma patients are estimated at less than 30-50%.
The likelihood of developing mesothelioma varies from individual to individual. Some people develop it with only minimal exposure to asbestos, while for others a lot of exposure is needed. Shockingly, since the 1940s, millions of industrial workers have been exposed to asbestos. More recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a limit as to how much asbestos people should be exposed to so that they do not develop mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a serious disease, and companies need to be held responsible for the hazards they have exposed their employees to. If you have developed mesothelioma, contact Pulaski Law Firm at (800) 431-9730.