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Mesothelioma

Frequently Asked
Questions & Answers

Mesothelioma is a malignant cancerous tumor that forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart and is caused by asbestos fibers being inhaled. Symptoms can vary but always include shortness of breath and chest pains.

There are four types of mesothelioma, which are defined by the location of their tumors. The mesothelioma tumors are identified as Pleural (lung lining), peritoneal (abdominal lining), pericardial (heart sac), and testicular. In addition, Mesothelioma is also identified by three cancer cell types: Epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic.

Exposure and inhaling asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma. studies show that 8 out of 10 people with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can pass through the ends of small air passages and reach the pleura, where they cause scarring and inflammation in the pleura, which can make breathing and swallowing both difficult and painful.

Asbestos is the only proven cause of mesothelioma disease. The American Cancer Society reports that 80% of mesothelioma cases are caused by known exposure to asbestos. Many studies have shown that radiation treatment for other cancers or certain genetic markers may increase the risk of developing mesothelioma. 

Having a biopsy performed is the first step in diagnosing mesothelioma. Biopsies are procedures where a tissue sample is taken from the body. A pathologist will then use a microscope to examine the tissue to determine if it has cancer.

Symptoms of asbestos exposure include chest pain, shortness of breath, and cough. They can be signs that someone has been exposed to the deadly substance. Pleural plaques indicate that a person had enough exposure to be at risk of other diseases. They may also develop prior to lung cancer or mesothelioma. Being exposed to asbestos can cause inflammation and scar tissue in the pleural cavity. It’s the main cause of mesothelioma.

Out of all people with heavy, prolonged exposure to asbestos, 2% to 10% develop pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of mesothelioma can usually be diagnosed after 20 to 50 years following exposure when tumors have grown and spread.

The effects of exposure to asbestos are usually mild until around 10 to 40 years after exposure.  The development of the asbestos-related disease mesothelioma that causes breathing restrictions, as well as other symptoms, has a latency period anywhere between 10 and 50 years. Mesothelioma symptoms usually only present themselves 20 to 30 years after exposure to asbestos, once the disease and symptoms have already started to develop.

Everyone who is exposed to asbestos does not get diagnosed with mesothelioma. It is rare, even for people who were exposed to large amounts of asbestos, to develop mesothelioma. While asbestos is the cause of mesothelioma, many risk factors make some people at a higher risk to develop this cancer. 

In addition to exposure to asbestos, among the most common risk factors for contracting mesothelioma are aging, tobacco use, exposure to radiation, sun exposure, chemicals, and other substances, some viruses and bacteria, certain hormones, history of cancer in your family, alcohol, nutrition deficiencies, lack of physical activity, and being overweight.

Long exposure to asbestos can cause serious health effects, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Asbestos in the workplace is the leading cause of cancers. Exposure to Asbestos has also been common in the military and even in residential homes.

The American Cancer Society that up to 10% of all people with heavy, prolonged exposure to asbestos, develop pleural mesothelioma. Mesothelioma symptoms usually do not show for 20-50 years after asbestos exposure, which is when tumors have grown and spread.

Exposure to asbestos is the cause of both mesothelioma and asbestosis. The primary difference is that asbestosis is confined to the lungs and respiratory tract and not cancerous. Mesothelioma is a cancer that usually develops in the mesothelial tissue of the lungs and abdomen and is at this time incurable.

Although it is not always fatal, treatment for most people with mesothelioma is focused on comfort instead of survival.  Only a small portion of those with the most localized stage of the illness can survive for five years after their initial diagnosis.

Lungs cannot heal from asbestos exposure and could affect overall health in more severe cases. In general, when someone is diagnosed with asbestosis, treatment focuses on mitigating symptoms and monitoring for advanced progression of illness in the lungs.

While age greatly increases the risk of mesothelioma and it’s rare in people under age 45, Mesothelioma can occur in young people (even children). About 67% of people with mesothelioma are age 65 or older.

While malignant mesothelioma is cancerous, it is not a form of lung cancer. Lung cancer develops inside the lungs, while mesothelioma causes tumors of the pleural tissue that surrounds the outside of the lungs, diaphragm, and chest cavity.

Yes, there are asbestos testing kits that work in a two-step process. The low-cost kits can be purchased at home improvement centers or online. To perform the test, while following the directions detailed with the testing kit, you safely obtain a sample of any suspected asbestos from your home. Then mail the findings to the laboratory of the kit supplier and the results will be sent back to you after the test is completed.

The EPA that you should only test suspect materials if they are damaged or if you are planning a renovation or other construction that would disturb the suspect material in any way.

There’s no easy way to test whether you have been exposed to asbestos. If you know you worked or lived in conditions with a lot of asbestos dust many years ago, then you should talk to your doctor about cancer screening.

A mesothelioma claim is a type of legal action that explains why a claimant (the person filing the claim) deserves money from the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. Your Mesothelioma claim must prove how the asbestos-containing products caused your illness. Our attorneys make it a simple process. They will be there to listen to you and evaluate your needs with no-risk legal assistance and determine eligibility. Contact us today, before time runs out.