Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure
Each year, thousands of Americans are diagnosed with this deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma is most commonly caused by direct exposure to asbestos, a fiber-like mineral used mostly as insulation.
When asbestos is disturbed by people working closely with the material, its microscopic fibers enter the air and are inhaled. Because mesothelioma symptoms can take years to surface, many of those who worked closely with asbestos during the peak of its popularity (the 1940s to the 1970s) are just now showing signs of illness. Those affected by mesothelioma often do not find out they have the illness until it is too late for sufficient treatment.
Companies knew of the risks of asbestos for decades, but continued allowing their employees to be exposed to the cancer-causing agent. Roughly 27.5 million Americans were exposed to asbestos between 1940 and 1979, despite reports documenting the health hazard as early as the 1930s. Take a look at more statistics concerning mesothelioma and asbestos.
Thousands of mesothelioma lawsuits have since been filed against companies that failed to warn their employees of the risk, making asbestos cases the most expensive mass tort in the nation’s history.
Asbestos attacks a layer of lining inside the abdominal cavity, lungs and heart called the mesothelium. The most common of the three types of mesothelioma is known as pleural mesothelioma, which is caused by a buildup of fluid inside the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma is less common and attacks the liver, spleen and bowels, and causes the abdominal cavity to enlarge. Pericardial mesothelioma, the rarest form of the cancer, happens when the asbestos fibers invade the lining of the heart. Asbestos exposure can also cause lung cancer.
Many new cases of meso each year.
There are approximately 3,000 to 6,000 new cases of mesothelioma each year in the U.S., with the average age of diagnosis falling between 50 and 70. Treatment for mesothelioma does exist, albeit with a very low success rate. There is no cure for mesothelioma, but those affected can receive treatment including surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
The sooner a mesothelioma diagnosis is reached and treatment is begun, the higher the success rate, but most cases are not discovered until the cancer is too far advanced.
Who Is At Risk?
Anyone who worked with or around asbestos could develop one of the harmful forms of mesothelioma cancer, however, the following workers are more likely to have encountered asbestos in their careers:
- Construction workers
- Contract workers
- Factory employees
- Military personnel
- Railroad workers
Another set of individuals that may face a higher risk of mesothelioma development are veterans. Many military tools, vehicles, and ships used asbestos as a durable construction material and the dedicated men and women that came in contact with asbestos during their military careers may now be showing signs of mesothelioma development.
Besides mesothelioma, asbestos can cause other disorders such as lung cancer and asbestosis. People who develop these conditions have just as much right as mesothelioma victims to take legal action. If you or a loved one suspects that asbestos may have played a role in your condition, contact a mesothelioma attorney right away to discuss your options.
A Texas mesothelioma lawsuit attorney can tell you more about your rights as a mesothelioma patient or family member of a mesothelioma victim. Contact the experienced attorneys of Hissey, Mulderig & Friend today at (866) 275-4454 to tell us your story.