What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a very aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

The latency period for developing mesothelioma after exposure ranges from 10 to 60 years, but on average the time between exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma is 40 years. That is why it is sometimes difficult for victims and their legal counsel to determine when and where they were exposed. There is no cure for mesothelioma, but advancements in oncology treatment have increased the life expectancy and quality of life for people diagnosed early.

Mesothelioma was once considered a rare type of cancer. Although it is still not as common as many other types, reported cases of mesothelioma have continued to rise in the United States and around the world. In the US there are about 3,000 people diagnosed with mesothelioma every year.

It’s important to know that a specific mesothelioma diagnosis is not only critical for your medical treatment – it is also necessary to file a lawsuit.

People who develop mesothelioma are often surprised with the diagnosis and may not initially correlate it with asbestos exposure because mesothelioma takes a long time to develop. In most cases, the amount of time between a person’s initial exposure to asbestos and the development of the cancer — the “latency period” — can range from 15 to 30 years or even 60 years or more. That is why some people who were exposed to products containing asbestos decades ago are just now developing diseases like mesothelioma cancer and asbestosis.
There are four types of mesothelioma, but the most common is pleural mesothelioma, which occurs in the lining of the lungs (pleura). Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdominal cavity while pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, or the lining of the heart. The most rare type is testicular mesothelioma, representing less than 1% of all mesothelioma diagnoses.

Mesothelioma lung cancer (Pleural) accounts for approximately 90% of all mesothelioma diagnoses. Pleural mesothelioma symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, difficulty breathing, malaise, and fatigue. Severe pain occurs when cancerous mesothelioma cells grow and spread to the lining of the lungs. Simple acts like coughing, breathing, and swallowing can cause severe pain, giving the cancer a reputation as one of the most difficult to endure. The grim mesothelioma prognosis only compounds the victim’s pain.

What is the Difference Between Benign and Malignant Mesothelioma?

Benign mesothelioma generally occurs in the abdomen and may not be fatal. The only known cause of malignant mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, including white, brown, and blue asbestos fibers.

What Type of Treatment is Available for People with Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma treatment encompasses a wide scope of medical procedures aimed at reducing the size and growth rate, in addition to palliative care options to manage pain. Common medical treatments for mesothelioma include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery to remove tumors.

Palliative treatments include holistic options like controlling diet and taking herbal supplements; traditional eastern treatments like acupuncture and acupressure; and Pleurodesis or thoracentesis to remove fluid in the lungs. Opioids have been clinically proven to effectively manage pain for mesothelioma and lung cancer patients as well.

latency period for mesothelioma diagnosis after asbestos exposure by state in the us by cdc

Latency Period for Mesothelioma Diagnoses by State, According to the CDC

Although it’s considered a rare cancer, approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed each year in the United States. People who develop mesothelioma are often surprised with the diagnosis and may not initially correlate it with asbestos exposure because mesothelioma takes a long time to develop.

In most cases, the amount of time between a person’s initial exposure to asbestos and the development of the cancer — the “latency period” — can range from 15 to 30 years or even 60 years or more.  That is why some people who were exposed to products containing asbestos decades ago are just now developing diseases like mesothelioma cancer and asbestosis.

Who is at the Highest Risk of Developing Mesothelioma?

The development of mesothelioma is more common among men, and the likelihood of a diagnosis increases with age. Mesothelioma is more prevalent in geographic regions where oil & gas refineries, chemical plants, manufacturing plants, shipyards, and other industrial sites are present. US Naval Veterans who worked on submarines, naval ships, in shipyards, and in boiler rooms are more likely to develop mesothelioma than other branches of the military and civilians who did not serve.

Compensation is available for people diagnosed with mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos at work, school, from contaminated products, and while serving in the military. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.

What Type of Compensation is Available for Mesothelioma Victims?

People diagnosed with mesothelioma are victims of asbestos exposure, which is the only known cause of it. When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma, they can file an asbestos claim for compensation. There are different types of claims available depending on how you were exposed.

  • Mesothelioma Trust Funds
  • VA Mesothelioma Compensation for Veterans
  • Wrongful Death Claims
  • Personal Injury Claims
  • Class Action Lawsuits
  • Out-of-Court Mesothelioma Settlements

Mesothelioma trust funds are set up for victims diagnosed with mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos in manufacturing plants, products containing asbestos, or while working in asbestos mines. Veterans can file for compensation from the VA, but may also qualify for compensation from an asbestos trust fund.

In most situations, an individual or family members may choose to file a private mesothelioma lawsuit for negligence or wrongful death.

No matter what type of claim you file, there is always a chance that the company responsible wants to settle out of court. Mesothelioma settlements can occur during the course of a trial, but sometimes companies offer a settlement before the case goes to trial.

Can I Still File a Mesothelioma Compensation Claim if I Don’t Know Where I Was Exposed?

A lot of mesothelioma patients do not know where they were exposed to asbestos or to what specific asbestos-containing products.  An experienced mesothelioma attorney knows how to research historical exposure to pinpoint any other companies or parties as negligent.   A mesothelioma diagnosis is enough proof that you were exposed to asbestos.  

A specific mesothelioma diagnosis is not only critical for your medical treatment – it is also necessary to file a lawsuit.

Has Anyone Ever Been Cured of Mesothelioma?

No, although we have seen progress in the field of oncology no one has ever been cured of mesothelioma. We are hopeful that a cure for mesothelioma will be found soon.

While mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to treat, there has been great progress over the last few years in surgical and chemotherapy treatments. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) is an alliance of top cancer treatment facilities that specialize in mesothelioma treatments. For more details about NCCN treatment recommendations download the NCCN Guidelines for Patients booklet.

ncnn patient guide for malignant pleural mesothelioma

Is There a Certain Type of Mesothelioma That is More Deadly than Others?

The most prevalent form of the cancer is malignant pleural mesothelioma, which occurs in the lining of the lungs known as the pleura and is the result of inhaling asbestos fibers. Pleural mesothelioma is the most deadly type of mesothelioma simply by the number of people diagnosed with it.

Pleural mesothelioma of the lungs accounts for 90% of all mesothelioma diagnoses according to a 2013 study made by the National Institute of Health. Mesothelioma lung cancer of the pleura is not only the most common type of mesothelioma people are diagnosed with, it is also the kind strictly associated with asbestos product exposure and exposure at work.  

Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity and is the result of ingesting or swallowing asbestos fibers. Pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, which lines the heart.

Both peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma occur very rarely, sometimes metastasizing in people who were initially diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. If you have been diagnosed, please know that you have the right to seek compensation for all of the pain and suffering you and your family are experiencing.

How is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose since its symptoms are similar to those of other lung ailments, such as congestion and shortness of breath. If you suspect that your symptoms may be the beginning of mesothelioma, it is important to talk to your doctor about possible asbestos exposure and get an accurate diagnosis. A mesothelioma diagnosis is not only critical for your medical treatment – it is also necessary to file a lawsuit and receive assistance from a lawyer for mesothelioma cancer.

What is the Life Expectancy for Someone Diagnosed with Mesothelioma?

Most people are not diagnosed with mesothelioma until the disease has advanced to stage 3 or stage four, which is why the average life expectancy for someone after a diagnosis is less than a year.

How Can Mesothelioma be Prevented?

The only way people can keep from getting mesothelioma is by completely avoiding asbestos exposure. But that is often difficult since asbestos-containing materials were often not labeled properly. Many companies that have made millions from asbestos-laden products simply shirked their duty to protect not only their workers, but consumers as well.

I Was Diagnosed with Mesothelioma, What Do I Do Now?

If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, we offer you our deepest sympathy and heartfelt prayers. We strongly encourage you or a family member to contact us right away so that we can start the mesothelioma claim process. You do not have to file a lawsuit if you do not want to, and you and your family can still potentially receive compensation from a mesothelioma trust fund. If it turns out you were exposed in the military, you don’t have to sue the government or anything crazy like that to get compensation for you and your family and help with medical costs. If you want to pursue litigation, our mesothelioma lawyers are ranked among the best in the country and we will do all the work to get you and your family the compensation you deserve.

If you or a family member was diagnosed with mesothelioma, we want to help you however we can. Below are some of the resources and guides we have organized to help you through this difficult process. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us online or call a member of our team at (866) 472-9108.

Guide to Mesothelioma
Four Part Guide to Mesothelioma

From the basic 101’s to the need-to-know’s for family members and loved ones.mesothelioma guide for patients and families

 

Part I: Mesothelioma – What Is That
Part II: Mesothelioma – Who Does It Hurt
Part III: Mesothelioma – The Symptoms to Know
Part IVMesothelioma – How You Can Help

Sources

  1. Robinson, Benjamin M. “Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: An Epidemiological Perspective.” Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery 1.4 (2012): 491–496. PMC. Web. 18 Aug. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3741803/
  2. Corfiati, Marisa et al. “Epidemiological Patterns of Asbestos Exposure and Spatial Clusters of Incident Cases of Malignant Mesothelioma from the Italian National Registry.” BMC Cancer 15 (2015): 286. PMC. Web. 18 Aug. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22025020/
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality — United States, 1999–2006.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report April 24, 2009 / 58(15);393-396 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5815a3.htm
  4. Veterans Assistance with Mesothelioma “Navy Veterans and Mesothelioma” — May 2, 2014. http://www.vamesothelioma.org/navy-veterans.php
  5. Robinson, Benjamin M. “Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: An Epidemiological Perspective.” Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery 1.4 (2012): 491–496. PMC. Web. 27 Aug. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3741803/