What is Mesothelioma? Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. There are various types of mesothelioma, all of which are fatal and for which there is no cure. Some of the symptoms include: shortness of breath, coughing/wheezing, chest pain, weight loss, abdominal swelling, jaundice, cachexia, bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, trouble swallowing, swelling of the neck and face, fever, blood clots, and ascites.
What causes Mesothelioma? The primary risk factor for malignant mesothelioma is contact with asbestos. A history of asbestos exposure exists in almost all reported cases. The most common method of exposure is via inhalation. Asbestos fibers are inhaled and then end up in small air passages, eventually reaching the lining of the lungs. The malignant cells grow in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers the lungs, along with most of the body’s other internal organs. Asbestos particles can also be ingested. If swallowed, the fibers are implanted in the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal cavity where they cause peritoneal mesothelioma. A third and even less common site of the cancer may be the pericardium, a sac that surrounds the heart.Although mesothelioma is not contagious, it is worth noting that people can carry the asbestos particles onto their clothing, thus becoming de facto carriers of the carcinogen. Many a loved one has become infected by washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos, or by using asbestos cement products in home renovation.
Legal IssuesThe first lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers were in 1929. Since then, many lawsuits have been filed against asbestos manufacturers and employers, for neglecting to implement safety measures after the links between asbestos, asbestosis, and mesothelioma became known. The vast majority of people afflicted with malignant mesothelioma have contracted the disease while working on their job sites, even though simple measures could have been taken to prevent this. The American Cancer Society estimates this number at approximately 8 million people in the United States.The liability resulting from lawsuits brought by the families of the men and women who have suffered this terrible disease has reached billions of dollars.
Your RightsIf you believe you’ve been injured due to asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to damages. To determine your rights, you should contact a personal injury attorney specializing in asbestos related cases. You can search the LawGuru Attorney Directory for a personal injury lawyer in your area at http://www.lawguru.com/cgi/bbs/user/browseAtty.cgi. Or, if you have additional questions about mesothelioma and your situation, you can ask a free question of the LawGuru Attorney Network in our Knowledge Base at http://www.lawguru.com/cgi/bbs/user/submit.cgi.