What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

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

Although it’s considered a rare cancer, approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed each year in the United States alone. 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.

Guide to Mesothelioma
This is a Four-Part Guide to mesothelioma, from the basic 101’s to the need-to-know’s for family members and loved ones.

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

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

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 specific diagnosis of mesothelioma is not only critical for your medical treatment – it is also necessary to file a lawsuit and receive assistance from a mesothelioma lawyer.

The only way people can keep from getting mesothelioma is by completely avoiding asbestos exposure. But that is often difficult since asbestos-containing materials are 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.

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 detail on NCCN treatment recommendations download the NCCN Guidelines for Patients booklet.