|Diagnosed With Mesothelioma|
Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a cancer that is almost exclusively related to asbestos exposure, either through working directly with asbestos products or being in close proximity to someone who has been exposed to asbestos products. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, there are legal options available to you to help pay for the expenses related to treatment.
In the United States, it has been estimated that there are more than 5,000 products that are commonly used that have asbestos in them. Asbestos is a mined mineral that has been mined in the United States since the 1800s. However, it did not come into extensive use until after World War II, where it was used in almost everything from textiles to construction materials to playground materials to brakes.
While asbestos can be found extensively in manufacturing, construction and demolition, railroad and the automotive industries, there are also many other industries that have continued to use products and materials with high levels of asbestos, despite the risks of these activities being known for many years now.
September 11 Recovery Workers
One of the groups of workers that have shown a sudden spike in being diagnosed with mesothelioma are firefighters and recovery workers who worked in the efforts at the World Trade Center site in New York City after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. These workers were exposed to horrific amounts of asbestos fibers in the demolition and destroyed building materials.
Unlike other mesothelioma victims, however, 9/11 recovery workers have developed symptoms much earlier and been diagnosed with mesothelioma a mere few years after asbestos exposure. Typically, mesothelioma does not develop until many years after exposure to asbestos fibers – as long as 30 years or longer. This difference is a good indication of the surprisingly high levels of asbestos exposure 9/11 recovery workers were subject to after the terrorist attacks.
Development of Mesothelioma
Mesothelial cells are located in the membrane linings of the body. The most common forms of mesothelioma are pleural and abdominal or peritoneal. The pleura is located in the chest and covers the lungs; the peritoneum is the membrane that covers the intestinal and digestive tract. Asbestos fibers become lodged between the mesothelial cells, which become irritated and inflamed. In response, cancerous tissue develops.
Initial symptoms of mesothelioma can be extremely vague, which is why it is typical for people to be diagnosed with mesothelioma in the later stages of the illness. Pleural symptoms include a dry cough, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and pain when drawing a breath. Abdominal symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, lumps or masses in the abdomen, fever, night sweats and unexplained changes in weight.
In order to be diagnosed with mesothelioma, not only does a thorough and complete history need to be taken with a physical exam, but also x-rays, CT scans and ultrasound will show accumulation of fluid in the mesothelial membranes.
Although there is no cure once a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma, treatment options include pain management, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. For some patients it may be necessary to go through radiation treatment to reduce the size of tumors before surgery. Also, intracellular injection of medications after surgery has been shown to be an effective treatment.