What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is just one of a number of health risks associated with exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is a malignant that affects the lining of the lungs or, less commonly, the pericardium (sac around the heart), the lining of the abdominal cavity, or the sac that surrounds the testicles. Mesothelioma may not appear until many years after exposure to asbestos. Some have suggested that family members who lived with someone who worked with asbestos may also be at increased risk.

Symptoms of mesothelioma may include

  • Difficulty breathing.

  • Chest pain.

  • Unexplained loss of weight.

  • Fever.

  • Cough.

  • A general feeling of being unwell.

Other, less common, symptoms include abdominal swelling, bowel obstruction, and/or anemia.

If you exhibit any of the symptoms listed above, you should consult your doctor right away. Even if you do not have these symptoms but believe you were exposed to asbestos for any significant period of time, you should seek medical attention. Mesothelioma may be present even when symptoms do not yet exist.

What Does Mesothelioma Have to Do with Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was commonly used for a variety of purposes in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Its structure is made up of long, thin crystals that cause lung irritation when inhaled. Prolonged exposure can result in . All types of asbestos are known to cause .

So why was it so widely used for so long? Asbestos’ resistance to heat and burning made it a desirable commodity in environments prone to high temperatures. It was used in many ways, including fireproofing buildings, insulating pipes, and car manufacturing, including the manufacturing of brake pads.

The health risks posed by exposure to asbestos—not limited to mesothelioma—were known since the 1930s, but regulation of its use in the United States did not begin until the 1970s. Even today asbestos use is not completely banned in the US. Sadly, throughout much of the history of its use, companies sought to keep its life-threatening side effects a secret from the public. There have been numerous documented incidents of intentional cover-ups and misrepresentation of the facts to the public, dating as far back as the early 1900s.

You may have been exposed to asbestos if you have ever worked in any of the following situations:

  • Factory work.

  • Building demolition.

  • Ship building.

  • Installation or removal of insulation.

  • Carpentry work.

  • Manufacturing, installation, or repair of brake linings.

I Have Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma . . . Now What?

If your doctor has diagnosed you with mesothelioma, what should you do?

  • Follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment regimen.

  • You may be eligible to file a claim for financial remuneration. Killian Davis Richter & Mayle can help expedite that process. Or,

  • You may want to file a lawsuit (not the same as filing a claim) against an employer who was negligent in his responsibilities regarding your exposure to asbestos. Again, contact us for counsel regarding your rights.

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