What is Mesothelioma?
Learning that You or a Loved One has Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma Can Be Devastating. At Oberheiden Law, We are Here to Help You Recover.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that grows on the thin layer of tissue that covers several of your internal organs. This thin layer, called the mesothelium, helps protect the lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs; and, when compromised by cancer, the mesothelium can become severely damaged. This damage to the mesothelium can threaten the internal organs the mesothelium is supposed to help protect, and this has the potential to be fatal for many patients.
When faced with a mesothelioma diagnosis, there is a lot you need to know. This includes information about treatment options and risks, as well as information about your legal rights.
7 Facts about Mesothelioma
At Oberheiden Law, we help individuals and families recover just compensation for mesothelioma resulting from asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed, here are seven important facts you need to know:
1. Mesothelioma is Caused by Asbestos Exposure
According to the Mayo Clinic, asbestos exposure is, “[t]he primary risk factor for mesothelioma.” Asbestos is a mineral that was commonly used in building materials until the federal government issued a ban in 1978. The government issued this ban specifically due to the risk of developing mesothelioma following exposure. While medical researches have identified certain other environmental and hereditary risk factors, in the vast majority of cases mesothelioma can be directly linked to prior asbestos exposure.
2. Mesothelioma Can Develop at Any Time After Being Exposed to Asbestos
Once a person has been exposed to asbestos, there is a risk that mesothelioma could develop at any time throughout the rest of his or her life. As the Mayo Clinic explains, “[i]t can take 20 to 60 years or more for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure.”
3. Mesothelioma Can Affect One or Several Internal Organs
Just as mesothelioma can develop at any point in time after asbestos exposure, it can also affect any or all of the internal organs protected by mesothelium. Which organs are impacted – and how many organs are impacted – determines each individual patient’s prognosis. While mesothelioma can be fatal, some patients are able to recover, or at least manage their symptoms, with prompt intervention and ongoing treatment.
4. Mesothelioma has Several Possible Symptoms and Complications
Mesothelioma can have several possible symptoms depending on where in the body it develops. For example, pleural mesothelioma, which impacts the lungs, is typically characterized by symptoms including:
- Chest pain and painful coughing
- Lumps on the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss not explained by other factors
In contrast, peritoneal mesothelioma, which impacts the stomach, is typically signified by unexplained weight loss accompanied by nausea and abdominal pain and swelling.
The complications of mesothelioma also vary based on the cancer’s location and stage of growth. As the cancer develops, complications generally worsen, and delays in treatment (i.e. due to a misdiagnosis) can significantly increase the risk of fatality.
5. There are Four Stages of Mesothelioma Development
The severity of mesothelioma is characterized by “Stages”. There are four recognized stages of mesothelioma development:
- Stage 1 – The cancer is localized (has not begun to spread throughout the body). Various treatment options are available.
- Stage 2 – The cancer has begun to spread to other organs. Treatment options are more limited but still available.
- Stage 3 – The cancer has spread more significantly to other organs. Treatment options are more-severely limited, and surgery may or may not be possible.
- Stage 4 – The cancer has spread throughout both sides of the body. Treatment generally focuses on pain relief and symptom management.
6. Treatment Options for Mesothelioma Vary
Since treatment options become more limited as mesothelioma progresses, early diagnosis is crucial. Unfortunately, this often simply is not possible. Depending on the stage at which mesothelioma is diagnosed, possible treatment options include:
- Radiation therapy
- Drug treatments
- Biologic therapy
- Pain relief and symptom management
- Clinical trials
7. The Financial and Non-Financial Costs of Mesothelioma Can Be Substantial
Regardless of the stage at which mesothelioma is diagnosed, the financial and non-financial costs can be substantial. This makes it critically important for patients and their families to seek experienced legal representation. At Oberheiden Law, we handle mesothelioma cancer claims nationwide, and our attorneys have recovered billions of dollars in financial compensation for our clients losses.
Contact the Mesothelioma Attorneys at Oberheiden Law
Would you like more information about your legal rights following a mesothelioma diagnosis? For a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our mesothelioma attorneys, call 866-376-4871 or request an appointment online today.