Health and Finance: Facts about Mesothelioma and Asbestos Settlements

Health and Finance: Facts about Mesothelioma and Asbestos Settlements June 23, 2012

Today’s post is about health and finance.  While it’s never enjoyable to write about a topic like mesothelioma, it’s a reality that has affected thousands of families, including ours.  Our grandfather passed away last year due to mesothelioma, so this post is in honor of his life and meant to educate others on the issue.  We’ll cover a few health question as well as financial questions about mesothelioma (including the infamous mesothelioma and asbestos settlements that we see on TV all the time). what is mesothelioma

What is Asbestos and how is it related to Mesothelioma?

The link between asbestos and mesothelioma (a form of cancer) was made through research done in 1977.  Since then, the use of asbestos has been on a dramatic decline, but thousands of people have had exposure to asbestos and many buildings still have traces of asbestos.

You might be wondering what exactly is asbestos?  In order to explain how asbestos and mesothelioma are related, you have to know what asbestos is and why so many people have been exposed to it.

Asbestos is a harmful, natural occurring mineral that was used in homes, commercial buildings, churches, and schools as insulation.  It was commonly used as pipe insulation, between wall insulation, as well as other commercial uses.  Since it is very heat resistant and chemical resistant, it acts as an excellent insulator.  Unfortunately, it also causes cancer.

How does Asbestos Cause Cancer?asbestos and mesothelioma

Asbestos is easily inhaled due to its small fibers.  For many workers in the construction field, breathing in asbestos from construction and demolition sites was as common as breathing in dust particles.  Unfortunately, the human body cannot remove the asbestos fibers that become caught in a person’s lungs, which causes inflammation and irritation within the lungs.  Over time, that irritation and inflammation can put you at risk to develop tumors, which can lead to various types of asbestos related cancers.

Types of Asbestos Related Disease

Mesothelioma – Cancer

Mesothelioma is the most well-known and most dangerous form of cancer that develops from inhalation of asbestos.  It’s called mesothelioma because the asbestos fibers can become lodged in the mesothelium, a lining within your body.  Over time, the inflammation of the mesothelium due to the asbestos fibers can put you in risk of developing deadly cancerous tumors.  The most common place for mesothelioma to develop is within the pleural lining of your lungs.  Unfortunately, once a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma, their life expectancy is between 4 and 18 months.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis, an inflammation due to asbestos intake, will reduce a person’s lung capacity and cause chronic coughing and shortness of breath.  For someone who smokes, the effects will be multiplied even more.

Lung Cancer

A person who has been exposed to asbestos also runs the risk of developing cancer of the lungs.  Again, for someone who smokes, the likelihood of lung cancer is even greater.

Other Asbestos Related Cancers

Asbestos related cancers have included gastrointestinal cancer,  colon cancer, throat cancer, and kidney cancer.  While these are much more uncommon than asbestosis and mesothelioma, it’s important to understand the long reach of the cancer causing mineral.

How Do I Know if I Have Mesothelioma or Asbestos Exposure?

It’s possible that exposure to asbestos 20 or 30 years ago could cause mesothelioma or other cancers in the future.   The latency period can be great, which means that if you think you may have been in contact with the mineral from an old home, job, or construction site, you should consult a physician about being tested for the disease.  Symptoms may not show up for years, which is why it’s so important to take medical precautions right away.

The warning signs of mesothelioma can include shortness of breath, fever, chronic coughing, chest pain, and stomach pain, swelling in the chest or stomach and even weight loss.

Can Mesothelioma be Treated or Cured?

Like many forms of cancer, the treatments generally aren’t easy and can include surgery, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy.

Asbestos Settlements

You may be entitled to compensation if you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos.  If you or a relative have suffered because of asbestos, contact a lawyer right away to discuss your legal rights.  Mesothelioma attorneys exist to defend workers who were exposed to asbestos in their workplace and can file a suit on behalf of the family who lost a loved one from asbestos exposure.

Large corporations that knew of the harmful effects of asbestos are held liable in many cases for the damages inflicted on the victims of mesothelioma.  Unfortunately, fighting a mesothelioma case on your own, it will likely be dificult due to the legal teams of large corporations.

That’s why it’s important to choose a law firm that has specialized mesothelioma attorneys who have studied the research and know how to demand appropriate settlements.  Experienced mesothelioma attorneys have given years to developing solid cases full of evidence to defend families who have suffering or lost loved ones from asbestos causing cancer.

Take the time to find a mesothelioma lawyer who can represent your family and don’t settle for a mediocre attorney.  Do the appropriate research and find the best mesothelioma lawyer to represent you.

If this overview of asbestos and mesothelioma was helpful, hit the +1 button to help other families who have lost a loved one from mesothelioma or asbestos related disease. 

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  • In the movie, With Honors, Joe Pesci’s character got sick and died because of asbestos. He was exposed to it a lot at work.