Mesothelioma affects thousands of people
The internal organs of our bodies are lined with a membrane that serves as a protective layer. This layer is called the mesothelium, and the type of cancer that affects it is called mesothelioma. It is a rarely-occurring but deadly cancer, and it spreads fast. It usually occurs in the lungs, the heart, other abdominal organs, and in males, the testicles.
Mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Most people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma have worked in jobs exposing them to asbestos dust. The inhalation of asbestos is the most common cause of mesothelioma, and it can develop long after being exposed to asbestos, sometimes decades later.
Since asbestos fibers tend to adhere to clothing, the family members of a person who works with asbestos are also at risk for developing mesothelioma. The person may come home from work and give family members hugs, unknowingly exposing them to the asbestos dust sticking to his clothes. In the same way, a person who washes the clothes of somebody who works with asbestos is also unwittingly being put at risk for developing mesothelioma.
How does it manifest?
There are different signs you can watch out for to determine whether you have mesothelioma or not. They depend on how the disease develops in the body.
Difficulty of breathing can be a symptom of pleural effusion, which is the presence of fluid in the space between the lungs and the chest wall (the pleural space). This may cause the person to become short of breath, or experience pain in the chest. As with all cancers, a sudden drop in weight is a warning sign.
A diagnosis may be made based on X-rays of the chest and CAT scans. However, the only confirmatory diagnostic method is a biopsy of the lung tissue accompanied by microscopic analysis. A thoracoscopy is done, which involves the insertion of a small camera into the chest through a tube. The camera aids in the visualization of the internal structures, but the end purpose is to collect a tissue sample for testing.
What to Do
The bad news is that, currently, mesothelioma is incurable. While researchers continue to work towards a cure, the focus of treatment for mesothelioma patients at present is to prolong life and facilitate comfort. It cannot be removed through surgery, so the options left are chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but the survival rates still remain pretty low. Prevention and early detection are important, so another focal point of mesothelioma research is the development of early screening methods for those at risk.
It goes without saying that mesothelioma sufferers go through a difficult time, including their loved ones. Treatment costs are expensive, and the emotional stress the patient and the family are put through is intense and harrowing. Asbestos companies should be held responsible for all this, which is why the law provides victims of asbestos inhalation the right to compensation. Numerous companies have been forced to compensate people who have been exposed to asbestos and consequently became affected with mesothelioma. If you consult with an injury attorney that specializes with mesothelioma compensation cases, you stand a chance against these big companies. They will have their own set of lawyers that will do anything to downplay the situation and lessen their accountability, so you definitely need help fighting for you or your loved one’s rights.