Mesothelioma: Causes, Symptoms and When to Get Help in 2023
Ever since the industrial revolution, asbestos has been used in thousands of products and manufacturing processes. As a fire and heat-resistant natural fiber, it became a valuable material for many essential products. The problem is that for many years, the dangers associated with asbestos exposure were a mystery and people fell victim to diseases like mesothelioma.
Following the Second World War, many of the dangers of asbestos exposure were well known. However, many industries, including shipyards, the automotive industry, and construction, continued to use asbestos materials despite knowing the risks to their workers.
This lack of responsibility has led to many fatalities and lawsuits with the help of the experts at Bergman Legal. As workers spent years working with or around asbestos, these dangerous fibers would become embedded in the lungs’ soft tissues. Over many years, this infiltration would cause the growth of cancerous tumors leading to very virulent cancers. The complication came from the infection process taking many years to develop before symptoms could be detected and treatment given to patients.
Companies across the world are now being held responsible for their negligent attitudes towards workers. Despite the knowledge that exposure to asbestos could be deadly, companies knowingly continued to put people at risk.
Industries Where Asbestos Is Commonly Found
Asbestos is fairly harmless in its inert form, as it is mined from a rock. The danger comes when the delicate asbestos fibers that have been processed are disturbed and become airborne. Workers that didn’t have direct handling exposure to asbestos have still ended up suffering from mesothelioma just by breathing in the environmental air in their workspace.
- Construction and demolition
- Auto mechanics
- HVAC technicians
Common Products With Asbestos
- Car brakes
- Children’s toys
One of the reasons that mesothelioma has become such a tough disease to beat is that many of the symptoms take years, and sometimes decades, to manifest. The most important aspect of detecting asbestos exposure is to know if you are at risk through your career or activity.
Mesothelioma symptoms are relatively common of many illnesses and disorders and can be easily mistaken for something that seems less severe. Pay attention to your body and what it is telling you, and see your doctor if you feel that you are at risk from asbestos exposure.
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the lower back and side
- Dry cough
- Trouble swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Face and/or arm swelling
- Lumps on the chest under the skin
- Muscle weakness
Many patients disregard many of these generic symptoms due to passing illnesses like colds or flu. However, if you have been exposed to asbestos and have trouble with any of these symptoms, it’s critical that you see your doctor.
It may take time and visits to multiple doctors to get a firm diagnosis of mesothelioma. Due to common symptoms that can be attributed to many different illnesses, including pneumonia, it can be difficult for doctors to make a quick diagnosis. The important first step is to see your doctor and talk to them about your symptoms and risk.
The first step towards diagnosis will be to discuss your medical and exposure history with your medical team. Once a more broad picture of your health is established, it’s easier for doctors to start pinning down possible causes for your specific symptoms.
Your first visit will be followed by a physical exam that includes a lung function test. This will help doctors to evaluate how well your lungs are functioning and whether there is any indication of disease. The results of the lung function test will then be followed by several imaging and diagnostic tests.
Image screenings like x-rays or CT scans will give the doctors a picture of your internal lung tissue. If there are tumors or metastasized cancers present, they should be able to locate them and determine the size and placement of any issues.
If any masses or irregularities are found, your doctors will likely move forward with diagnostic testing like a biopsy. This will confirm whether or not cancerous cells are embedded in any tumors.
The unfortunate truth about a mesothelioma diagnosis is that treatment is rarely successful apart from a partial life extension. There is no known effective cure for mesothelioma. Your treatment plan is dependent on the level of infection.
Most patients choose between chemotherapy or radiation treatments to help shrink the existing tumors. In some cases, surgery may be an option to extract the largest tumors. In many patients, the focus is on life extension and comfort.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos resulting in a mesothelioma diagnosis, you will want to know if you have any avenues towards compensation. Companies around the world have knowingly used harmful asbestos products despite knowing the risks to their employees. Someone needs to be held accountable, even if the exposure occurred decades before the illness was discovered.
In most U.S. states, any company that has knowingly put their employees at risk of asbestos exposure is potentially liable for injury damages. There are thousands of products in various industries that use asbestos. For that reason, it can be difficult for legal experts to track back the original source of exposure.
The reality is that many companies that knowingly used asbestos in their processes and products assumed that any illness would occur so many years after exposure that they wouldn’t be able to be held accountable.
Finding a legal team that knows how to build a solid case on your or your loved one’s behalf is the first step towards getting the compensation that you deserve. Let your legal team help you to get the respect and justice for which you have been denied.
Talk to your doctor about any symptoms you are experiencing and be open about any possible asbestos exposure you may have had in the past. A quick diagnosis is the best possible way to get the right treatment to help you achieve a better quality of life.