Mesothelioma is a cancer that is related to exposure to asbestos fibers. Many people do not develop mesothelioma symptoms until many years after they were exposed to asbestos. However, there are numerous reasons to consider filing a mesothelioma lawsuit.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related cancer that develops as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers. The most common form of mesothelioma is the pleural form, although peritoneal or abdominal mesothelioma may develop as a primary cancer or as a secondary cancer if the pleural form spreads into the abdominal area.
Pleural mesothelioma is cancer that develops in the plural, which is the membrane sac that surrounds and enfolds the chest cavity and the lungs. This form of mesothelioma develops from breathing in asbestos fibers. The fibers lodge in the mesothelial cells in the sac, where the cells become irritated and inflamed. As a result of this irritation and inflammation, cells begin to form around the fibers, resulting eventually in the development of cancerous tissue and tumors.
Abdominal mesothelioma is formed in the peritoneal membrane, which is the sac that holds the abdominal organs, including the intestines and digestive tract. In this case, asbestos fibers are introduced to the peritoneal membrane through ingestion or from the lymph nodes. Similar to pleural mesothelioma, the asbestos fibers become lodged in the mesothelial cells of the peritoneal membrane, where the cells become irritated and inflamed and cancerous tissue and tumors form around the fibers. In some cases, pleural cancer cells spread into the peritoneum, causing secondary abdominal mesothelioma.
Asbestos 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 textiles, construction materials (ceiling tiles, insulation, etc), brakes, and other goods.
It was later found that individuals working in fields with high rates of asbestos fiber exposure developed mesothelioma, often many years after exposure had occurred. As the incidents of mesothelioma have increased, so have the numbers of people filing a mesothelioma lawsuit in an effort to cover costs related to medical expense or to help pay for pain and suffering due to the loss of a family member as a result of asbestos exposure.
There are numerous industries that used asbestos extensively in the past. For example, workers in ship building, railroad, construction and demolition and automotive industries were exposed to asbestos fibers quite extensively.
Recently, firefighters and others who participated in the response to and recovery efforts of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center site have discovered that they have suffered high rates of asbestos fiber exposure and are now developing mesothelioma symptoms.
Reasons for Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
While there are many reasons to file a mesothelioma lawsuit, the primary reasons are to help you and your family cope with the high expenses related to treating this industrial illness. Many people in the United States do not have insurance or they may have inadequate insurance to cover the costs of this substantial and devastating illness. Also, because mesothelioma is almost exclusively related to industrial exposure to asbestos, it is a work-related illness, even if it shows up years after the fact of exposure.
For families who lose a loved one as a result of asbestos fiber related illness, there are also other factors. This is a material that was introduced to more than just workers who were directly exposed to asbestos. Employees also brought home asbestos fibers to their family, since it permeated their clothing, hair and skin. It has been found that family members may develop mesothelioma simply due to asbestos fibers that were transferred through being in close contact and proximity to workers who were exposed to asbestos. In these cases, a mesothelioma lawsuit may be necessary in order to be awarded compensation for the resulting illness.