What is Mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma (often simply called “mesothelioma”) is an aggressive, dangerous cancer that usually affects the tissue linings of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. These linings are made of mesothelial cells, and the linings are called the mesothelium. The linings protect your organs with special fluid that allows organs to move against each other. In the lungs, the mesothelium allows you to breathe easily as your lungs expand and contract. Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs and is the most common form of the cancer.
How Many People Have Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma was at its height in the United States through the 1970s to the 1990s, but it has gone down since workplaces have made an effort to limit workers’ exposure to asbestos, a group of minerals that causes mesothelioma. Now, only about 3,000 new mesothelioma cases are diagnosed each year.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the side of chest or lower back
- Trouble swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Swelling of the face and arms
Even if you work in another field, your exposure to asbestos may still be the result of a company’s negligence. Many older buildings used asbestos as insulation. Your mesothelioma may be the result of working in an older building or living in an older home, especially if the asbestos particles have been released into the air through a renovation. Even family members of those exposed to asbestos can develop mesothelioma since asbestos can remain on their loved one’s clothes when they come home from work.
Age of Mesothelioma Patients
Since mesothelioma can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years to develop after initial exposure to asbestos, most mesothelioma patients are older. The average age for diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma is 69. The five-year survival rate for mesothelioma is only between 5 and 10 percent. The younger a person is diagnosed, the higher their chance for survival.
Treatment for Mesothelioma
Treatment for mesothelioma is similar to treatment for other cancers and can include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy. However, mesothelioma is different in that it does not usually grow as one single large tumor, but rather spreads itself along nearby blood vessels and nerves.
Get Your Mesothelioma Settlement
Mesothelioma is a serious disease that requires costly treatment. If you or a loved one suffers from mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation from a former or current workplace that exposed you to asbestos. A lawsuit can seem like a drastic step, but most individual cases reach fair settlements and never have to see a trial. Settlements can help pay for your medical bills. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.