Mesothelioma is a rare, malignant cancer of the pleura (the lining around the lungs), peritoneum, pericardium, or gonads only caused by exposure to asbestos. Approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with the fatal disease in the United States each year according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). There is no cure for mesothelioma, but there are various treatments available that can improve patients’ symptoms and slow the progress of the disease.
What causes mesothelioma?
The cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral fiber once hailed as a miracle mineral. Despite medical and industry knowledge since 1910 that asbestos was hazardous to health, prior to the 1980s the mineral was widely used in numerous products including most construction products, pipe, insulation, joint compounds, consumer products, roofing, and many others.
When someone inhales airborne asbestos, the fiber is retained in the lungs, the pleura, and other areas of the body, and can eventually cause cancer, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, various gastro-intestinal cancers, and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The lungs and pleura are most commonly affected.
Thousands upon thousands of workers and consumers were routinely exposed to asbestos. The most common modes of exposure include the following:
- Working in industries that use asbestos products
- Military-related exposure
- Using products that contain asbestos
- Living in a home or working in a building that is built with materials containing asbestos
What are the treatment options and prognosis for mesothelioma?
The harsh reality is that mesothelioma is almost always fatal. The average prognosis from diagnosis to death is 18 months. The specific prognosis and outlook for someone who has developed mesothelioma depends on several factors. Gender, age, the stage of the cancer, the type of mesothelioma, the size of the tumor, and whether surgery is possible all affect a patient’s prognosis.
There is no way to reverse the damage of the lungs caused by asbestos and mesothelioma, but there are several forms of treatment that can help. There are currently five avenues of treatment that mesothelioma patients may use:
- Radiation therapy
- Biologic therapy
- Targeted therapy
The last two options are still in the trial phase. “For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice… Many of today’s standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. Patients who take part in a clinical trial may receive the standard treatment or be among the first to receive a new treatment,” explains the National Cancer Institute.
How am I going to pay for mesothelioma treatments?
Treatments for mesothelioma are ongoing and expensive. An experienced mesothelioma law firm can file a personal injury lawsuit to seek financial restitution. You can recover a wide range of damages that include your current and future medical bills, lost wages, lost pension, lost social security benefits, as well as pain and suffering and mental anguish. After you die, your family can also file a wrongful death law suit.
An experienced mesothelioma attorney can also file a workers’ compensation claim. This will pay for your medical needs, lost income, as well as provide your family with death benefits.
To determine exactly what types of benefits and compensation you may have available after a mesothelioma diagnosis, contact a local mesothelioma personal injury, wrongful death, and worker’s compensation attorney. Use Primerus for help finding a qualified lawyer who handles asbestos cases in your area.