Mesothelioma, otherwise known as malignant mesothelioma, is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium, which is a protective membrane that lines the majority of the body’s internal organs. Approximately two-thirds of mesothelioma cases initially develop in the pleural mesothelium of the chest cavity, the heart or the abdominal cavity.
Since World War II, asbestos has been used widely and millions of Americans have been exposed to asbestos dust since the early 1940’s. While the risks were not originally known, today it has become public knowledge that those who are exposed to asbestos are at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma later in life.
Cases of mesothelioma are commonly associated with:
If you or someone you love has developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, you may have grounds for financial compensation to cover your economic and non-economic damages. At the Florida Law Group, our Tampa personal injury lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for injured victims.
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Regardless of where the disease originates, the malignant cells from the mesothelium can invade the nearby surrounding tissues. What’s more, the cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body at a rapid pace. The frightening aspect of mesothelioma is that if left untreated, it often causes death within four to twelve months from the diagnosis. Also, about a third of patients will develop a small-bowel obstruction when a tumor develops and passes through the diaphragm. Another 10 percent of people die from cardiac complications when a tumor invades the thin membrane that surrounds the heart and the heart itself.
The majority of people who become afflicted with mesothelioma spent time working in occupations where they were exposed to asbestos dust, or where they inhaled asbestos. Not only are those that work with asbestos in danger, it has been suggested that those who wash the clothes of a family member who works with asbestos are also at risk of developing mesothelioma. Often times these family members are the spouse or the children of the worker.
Asbestos is a group of minerals with very thin, microscopic fibers. Due to the fact that asbestos is resistant to heat, fire and chemicals, yet it doesn’t conduct electricity, it has been used widely in a number of industries including the construction and automotive industry. Tiny asbestos fibers can be released into the air and inhaled or swallowed, thus leading to serious health complications.
It is estimated that as many as 80 percent of mesothelioma cases are linked to asbestos exposure through one’s work, and there is also evidence that family members living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing the disease. It is believed that the increased risk occurs when the asbestos worker comes home with asbestos dust on their clothing or in their hair and it is spread in the home environment.
Typically, signs or symptoms of mesothelioma don’t appear until 20, 30, or more years after exposure to the asbestos. It isn’t necessary to have been exposed to asbestos for a long period of time or a number of years. In fact, the duration of the exposure to asbestos could be relatively short, and mesothelioma cases have been documented where the victim was only exposed to asbestos for a one to three-month period of time. With mesothelioma, the disease doesn’t usually manifest for at least fifteen years from the first exposure, and it often peaks at 30 to 40 years afterward.
The most common symptoms of mesothelioma include:
When the mesothelioma affects the abdominal cavity, the person can suffer from an abdominal mass, an abnormal fluid buildup in their abdomen, weight loss, and bowel problems. In severe cases of mesothelioma, the individual may experience blood clots, jaundice, blood clots in the arteries of the lungs, low blood sugar, and severe bleeding of many of the bodily organs. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, then the person may experience swallowing difficulties, pain, and swelling in the face or neck.
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