Asbestos was once a mainstay of American industry.
Renowned for its strength, resiliency, and heat-resistant properties, asbestos was used to strengthen and reinforce everything from automotive parts to wall paint.
However, asbestos harbors hidden dangers.
We know today that there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. People who have worked with or lived around the mineral are at elevated risk for a number of serious respiratory conditions and diseases, up to and including cancer.
While asbestos has been linked to many different disorders, mesothelioma is among the most common and the most severe.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which affects the mesothelium, a thin layer of protective tissue hat surrounds several of the body’s most protective organs.
Asbestos is the cause of nearly all mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is almost always caused by asbestos exposure. In its natural form, asbestos could easily be confused with many other minerals. But when asbestos is used in home construction and industry, it is broken down into tiny, microscopic fibers. If these fibers are inhaled, they can enter the lungs and infiltrate the respiratory system.
Over time, they can accumulate, prompting the immune system to dispatch special cells to destroy the asbestos.
Unfortunately, asbestos’s resiliency makes it difficult to eradicate. Significant accumulations of asbestos fibers can cause scarring and long-term inflammation.
Mesothelioma, like other cancers, is characterized by the growth and spread of malignant tumors. These tumors form when the body tries—and fails—to replace damaged tissue with healthy tissue. As the immune system continuously tries to build new tissue, the damaged cells multiply uncontrollably.
The Different Kinds of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer, but it can infect different parts of the body.
There are three main types of mesothelioma:
|Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the chest and lungs. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease.|
|Peritoneal mesothelioma usually begins in the mesothelium of the abdomen. But it may spread to other parts of the body.|
|Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare type of mesothelioma that causes cancerous growths in the tissue surrounding the heart.|
Other parts of the body can also be affected by mesothelioma:
Mesothelioma can affect different parts of the body.
For example, physicians have diagnosed mesothelioma in the testicles. That said, fortunately testicular mesothelioma is incredibly rare to date and there have only been several hundred cases ever reported.
The Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is usually caused by asbestos exposure. However, it can take a very long time for asbestos fibers to inflict noticeable injuries. Many people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma have not had any recent or confirmed contact with asbestos.
Since mesothelioma and other asbestos-related health conditions can remain dormant for decades, patients often do not realize they may have a problem until they begin experiencing symptoms. These symptoms may not be noticeable until late in life. The average age for persons diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, for instance, is 72.
The symptoms of mesothelioma are diverse. However, common symptoms for different varieties of mesothelioma include but are not limited to:
|Pleural Mesothelioma:||Peritoneal Mesothelioma:||Pericardial Mesothelioma:|
General asbestos symptoms, common to different forms of the disease, could include:
- Inexplicable or irregular sweating
- General fatigue
- Weight loss
- Blood clots
- Loss of appetite
The Causes of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a cancer and, like all cancers, is caused by adverse changes to cells’ genetic structures. These changes are called mutations. When mutations instruct a cell or cells to multiply, they could accumulate and form a tumor.
Medical Research into the Causes of Mesothelioma and Asbestos Illnesses is Ongoing
Scientists are still trying to understand cancers like mesothelioma. However, researchers believe that cancers form through a combination of inherited physiological traits, environmental exposure, age, and lifestyle choices.
We already know that cigarette smokers, for instance, are more likely to develop lung cancer than people who do not smoke cigarettes. Since cigarette smoking could be a catalyst for lung cancer, we can consider tobacco a risk factor for lung cancer.
Risk Factors for Mesothelioma
Many diseases like mesothelioma and other cancers are believed by researchers to be caused by multiple factors. Genetics, diet and environment may all play a factor into how certain diseases develop.
- Health professionals refer to these different influences as risk factors.
Some are common in mesothelioma cases, but mesothelioma can also have other, less common causes.
Mesothelioma has a number of recognized risk factors:
|Asbestos exposure is by far the leading cause of mesothelioma. Studies suggest that about 80% of all mesothelioma diagnoses can be traced back to prior asbestos exposure. |
But people who have a long-term history of asbestos exposure, especially in the workplace, are at the highest risk for developing mesothelioma.
This includes many people who were employed in construction, automotive parts manufacturing, mining, and shipbuilding between the 1920s and late 1980s.
Secondary Asbestos Exposure
Also at-risk of asbestos illnesses are the spouses and family members of people who worked around asbestos, or shared vehicles, homes and other enclosed spaces with them. This is frequently referred to as secondary or second-hand asbestos exposure, domestic exposure, take-home or household asbestos exposure.
|Erionite, just like asbestos, is a naturally occurring mineral. While erionite is no longer mined or used for commercial purposes, it is sometimes found alongside otherwise safe deposits of rock and gravel. |
If erionite is crushed, tilled, or otherwise dispersed, it can infiltrate the lungs and mesothelioma in much the same way as asbestos. The National Cancer Institute has found that road construction workers are at the highest risk of erionite-related mesothelioma.
|Mesothelioma is thought to sometimes “run in the family.” Scientists believe that so-called germline mutations in the gene encoding the BAP1 protein, passed from parents to their children, can increase an individual’s lifetime risk for mesothelioma. However, genetic mutations rarely cause mesothelioma without any outside or environmental influence.|
Unknown risk factors
|Physicians cannot always identify the source of mesothelioma. Limited studies suggest that diseases like the simian virus could cause or co-contribute to cancer. Sometimes a person may have been exposed to asbestos but have no recollection of the event.|
Mesothelioma Treatment Options
The American Society of Clinical Oncology oversees and approves most mesothelioma treatments in the United States.
Traditional Treatment Options for Mesothelioma
Traditional treatments for mesothelioma are similar to those for other types of cancer:
Surgery for MesotheliomaIf someone is diagnosed early, surgery is often the best way to eradicate mesothelioma in its entirety. In a typical surgical procedure, physicians will remove all visible tumors from an affected area.
Typically, the patient will continue to receive chemotherapy or another treatment after a successful surgery to ensure the mesothelioma does not re-emerge.
ChemotherapyChemotherapy is sometimes successful in combating mesothelioma. While chemotherapy cannot always destroy mesothelioma tumors, it typically improves a patient’s odds of longer-term survival.
RadiationRadiotherapy is often employed in the multimodal treatment of malignant mesothelioma, but its effectiveness is uncertain. There is limited evidence that radiation treatments improve mesothelioma outcomes. However, radiotherapy could reduce cancer-related pain.
Tumor Treating FieldsOften abbreviated as TTFs, Tumor Treating Fields use alternating electrical currents to disrupt the growth and spread of cancer cells. When used in combination with medications, TTFs can significantly reduce cancer cell counts.
However, mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive cancer and traditional treatments cannot always curb its spread. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized several clinical treatments:
Emerging medicationsInitial clinical trials have shown that a combination of two drugs, Opdivo and Yervoy, decreases tumor growth by enhancing T-cell function. This combination drug therapy is the first approved by the F.D.A. in the past 16 years.
Gene therapyMedical scientists can modify cells and viruses to control and impede the spread of mesothelioma.
VirotherapyViruses may inflict damage to both healthy human tissue and cancerous growths. In some cases, tumor-destroying viruses are injected directly into the cancerous mass. While virotherapy has been shown to improve mesothelioma outcomes, it is typically used alongside more traditional treatments.
While mesothelioma patients are afforded a number of potential treatment options, mesothelioma remains one of the most difficult to treat cancers.
|If you, or a loved one, have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please continue to check The Law Offices of Justinian & Associates’ Asbestos Claims websites for updates on the latest mesothelioma treatments.|
Potential Compensation After an Asbestos-Related Mesothelioma Diagnosis
People have used asbestos for thousands of years, but American industry only began using the mineral in mass production between the late 1800s and early 1900s.
History of Legal Claims for Mesothelioma Diagnoses
The federal government only began taking action against the asbestos industry in the 1960s and 1970s. However, the asbestos industry knew that its products were harmful—even life-threatening. But instead of warning the public of asbestos’s danger, asbestos manufacturers sought to downplay its hazards.
If you, or a loved one, have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you could be entitled to significant compensation from:
- An insurance settlement
- An asbestos damages fund
- A personal injury lawsuit
While no amount of money can alleviate the immense suffering caused by a cancer diagnosis, compensation can be used to improve a mesothelioma patient’s quality of life. You could receive damages for:
- Past, present, and anticipated medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Prescription medication
- Traditional and emerging mesothelioma treatments
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of companionship
- Wrongful death
Every case is different, but when asbestos claims move to trial, mesothelioma victims and their loved ones routinely receive seven-figure settlements. This is because federal and state courts have found that asbestos companies were grossly negligent. They knew that asbestos was dangerous, but did nothing to stop employees and the public from being injured by their products.
Have You Been Hurt By Mesothelioma?
The Law Offices of Justinian C. Lane, Esq.-PLLC has a deep-seated commitment to assisting the victims of the asbestos industry.
Unlike many other law firms, we understand exactly what it is like to lose a loved one to mesothelioma. Our founder, Justinian C. Lane, lost his father and his grandparents to asbestos-related cancers. When they passed away, nobody in Justinian’s family knew they could have claimed compensation to help pay down their remaining medical bills and funeral costs.
We have seen first-hand the toll mesothelioma takes on individuals and families, which is why we are dedicated to helping others not only get the compensation they need but the justice they deserve.
The Law Offices of Justinian C. Lane does not believe in charging potential clients who may be deep in grief. We offer free consultations: in person, over the phone, video call, and even email. And when we accept a new case, we do not ask our clients to pay for our services. We work on a contingency basis, which means that we cover the costs associated with litigation. We only get paid if we win, and we only take our payment as a percentage of the settlement.
Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for people injured and killed by asbestos exposure. We could help you, too.
While every asbestos case is different, we are driven by a sense of justice and aim to deliver justice for clients, whatever that might mean to them.
Contact Us Today
Please contact us online or call us at 833-4-ASBESTOS (427-2378) to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.