Friday, 21 May 2010 22:41

Mesothelioma

Written by Law Offices Of Gary Green

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a relatively rare type of cancer that occurs within the thin layer of cells which line the body’s internal organs, known as the mesothelium. There are currently three known, separate types of Mesothelioma: pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma. The one known, common factor between all of these types of mesothelioma is that they are each associated with the inhalation of asbestos fibers.

Pleural Mesothelioma, the most common type of mesothelioma, affects the lungs, normally developing in either the visceral or parietal layer of the lung’s mesothelium, sometimes spreading to the other layer, and beyond. The most common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Chronic, dry cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath, even while resting
  • Coughing up blood
  • Painful breathing
  • Chronic chest pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Noticeable lumps on the chest
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Night sweats

Medical science in testing for pleural mesothelioma has advanced dramatically in the last several decades. Once a physician has obtained adequate family and personal history, common test procedures can include X-rays, CT scans and blood tests.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma, the second most common type of mesothelioma, affects the peritoneum, which is a membranous layer surrounding the abdomen and abdominal organs, and develops when asbestos fibers become caught in between the two layers of the peritoneum. It can take up to 30 or more years for the signs of peritoneal mesothelioma to develop. The most common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Abdominal pain/swelling
  • Weakness/fatigue
  • Chronic diarrhea/constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chronic nausea/vomiting
  • Noticeable lumps in the abdomen
  • Night sweats

As the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are not specific to only this disease, diagnosis can require detailed testing, including X-rays and CT scans to first determine if any abnormalities are present which may warrant the suspicion of the presence of cancer. A biopsy of the peritoneum for analysis is generally key in detection of the disease.

Pericardial Mesothelioma, the rarest form of mesothelioma, affects the mesothelial membrane surrounding the heart, and occurs when asbestos particles become trapped between the two layers of the membrane. Because of the long dormancy, diagnosing pericardial mesothelioma can be a difficult task for physicians. Some of the symptoms include the following:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart murmur
  • Chronic chest pain
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic coughing
  • Night sweats

Mesothelioma, unlike most other diseases and cancers, can be very clearly linked to contact with one particular substance – asbestos. Mesothelioma is neither an unfortunate accident, nor is it your fault. Most asbestos-related diseases are entirely preventable. If you have one, it is because someone was negligent. If you have mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you may be entitled to compensation for your family as they assist you through this trying time. Recovering damages can help you and your family deal with expensive medical costs which can be associated with lengthy illness, and which may not be covered by insurance.

The Facts

Some mesothelioma sufferers know that they worked around asbestos, but many do not know how they were exposed or how often. There have been literally thousands of products containing asbestos: cigarette filters, hair dryers, basement/roof materials, pipes, boilers, insulation, and many others, including materials used in shipyards, refineries, powerplants, steel plants and more. Veterans of the U.S. military from all branches of service are at risk if they worked in Navy shipyards, served on our nation’s warships and submarines from World War II through the Vietnam War.

The Law

Dealing with a difficult, lengthy illness is not the time to consider legal options alone. You should not wait too long to learn about your legal rights for three very good reasons:

1) Statute of Limitations. You have a limited amount of time after being diagnosed in which to file a lawsuit, by law. This limit varies by state.

2) Financial Burden. Mesothelioma treatment can bring severe financial stress, less income, high expenses, and treatments which may not be covered by your insurance. Knowing that money may be incoming from filing a claim can bring financial relief to you and your loved ones.

3) Resources. Law firms and mesothelioma lawyers can be excellent sources of information regarding various doctors and the latest treatment options available to you for this disease.

The laws regarding liability in mesothelioma cases are complex. Many of the original manufacturers of asbestos products have declared bankruptcy, changed their names, or gone out of business entirely. The company with which you were employed while you were being exposed to asbestos may be long out of business. An experienced attorney can help you work through the logistics of your case and determine who is to be held responsible.

The first step is to talk to an experienced attorney who can help you gather the necessary materials to discuss and/or file your claim, including:

  • Medical tests you may need
  • Establishing dates/places you may have been exposed to asbestos
  • Possible grounds for filing a lawsuit
  • Possible defendants in your case
  • Possibility of joining forces with other plaintiffs in a joint suit
  • Helping you find other needed resources, such as VA and medical assistance.

If you have been diagnosed with any form of mesothelioma or asbestos-related medical condition, the time to act is now. Give us a call at our toll free number and one of our experienced attorneys will be happy to assist you and your family in making your way through the maze of overwhelming information connected to this dangerous and painful disease.

Please contact us 888-442-7947 or send us an e-mail at ggreen@gGreen.com .