Asbestos-caused diseases are commonly the result of working for many years in environments like brake shops, shipyards and the construction industry – where there's a chance of asbestos particles contaminating the airspace. The cancer mesothelioma is one of the most common types of these asbestos-related illnesses.
Patients usually don't discover they have mesothelioma until after they have difficulty breathing. These patients may end up in the doctor's office for a routine exam, only to discover after various tests that they are suffering from this life-threatening cancer.
The patient's work history: Did the patient work in an industry or an old building where asbestos could have been present? If yes, what was the length of time the patient was employed in this position?
Results of various exams: The most common preliminary testing methods used by doctors hoping to rule out mesothelioma include:
Pulmonary function exams
Magnetic resonance image scans (MRI)
Computer tomography scans (CT)
Analysis of a biopsy sample: After analyzing the above information, a treating physician who suspects his or her patient is suffering from mesothelioma will order a biopsy to definitively test for the condition. If the biopsy tests positive for mesothelioma, the doctor will begin treatment immediately.
When treating mesothelioma
Treatment for mesothelioma may not be completely successful. Doctors do their best to slow the progress of the mesothelioma cancer and stunt or halt the growth of additional cancer cells. In some cases, doctors will treat a patient with various cancer therapies, and even perform surgery.
Research physicians are constantly developing new and more effective treatments for mesothelioma so it's important that patients stay up to date on their treatment options in case of new medical approaches to the condition.
Filing a workers' compensation claim for mesothelioma
Finally, if you or a loved one has contracted mesothelioma, you may be facing stiff medical bills. However, if the condition is job-related then patients may be able to pursue a workers' compensation claim to help pay for medical care and time spent unable to work as a result of the disease.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that attacks the mesothelium, a membrane that lines many of the body's most important organs. While not always the case, this disease typically occurs in the lining of the lungs.
While there is no cure for mesothelioma, there are a variety of treatment options that have been proven effective over the years. Generally speaking, there are three types of treatment to discuss with your medical team:
In many cases, the best way to treat mesothelioma is with a combination of all three types of treatment.
Surgery, for example, is often the first thing your medical team will suggest. There is more than one type of surgery for mesothelioma, with the four most common procedures including:
All four of these surgeries do something different. For instance, a local excision is used to remove the cancer, as well as some of the healthy tissue in the area.
An extrapleural pneumonectomy, however, is much more extensive, as this includes the removal of one lung and some of the lining in the chest cavity.
Just the same as other forms of cancer, both radiation and chemotherapy are successful in treating mesothelioma.
For example, depending on your medical team's approach, you may take more than one chemotherapy drug at the same time, all with the idea of generating the best possible outcome.
It goes without saying that a mesothelioma diagnosis will change your life forever. This is a serious disease that requires advanced treatment.
As you learn more about mesothelioma, including the best way to treat the disease, you should also turn your attention to the cause.
Many people who are suffering from mesothelioma find that they are in this position because of asbestos exposure at some point in their past.
If you find this to be true, you may be in position to seek compensation from a negligent party, such as an employer who did not do their part in providing the proper protection.
Losing a loved one to cancer is a traumatic experience. In some cases, the battle is protracted, with months of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatment and waiting. Other times, the progression is so rapid that your family barely has time to accept the diagnosis before you have to start planning a funeral. As far as cancers go, mesothelioma is a highly aggressive form of cancer that is currently considered treatable but incurable.
The tragic truth is that almost all cases of mesothelioma are preventable. The vast majority of people who develop this cancer had workplace exposure to asbestos on a regular basis. Others may have encountered it at home.
Sometimes, cases of deadly mesothelioma result from regular use of talcum powder, commonly called baby powder. Whatever the cause, surviving family members of a victim of mesothelioma may have legal options, including a wrongful death lawsuit. It may take some research and work, but it will provide the surviving family members with some measure of justice.
When mesothelioma could cause wrongful death
Under Washington state law, a surviving family member can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a person or business who caused the death through wrongful act, neglect or default. When most people think of wrongful death lawsuits, they think of drunk drivers, traffic collisions and similar issues. However, the potential application of wrongful death statutes is broader. Businesses that used asbestos or exposed their workers to it without protection could be responsible for a wrongful death related to mesothelioma under the law.
The reason why is simple. Although humans have used asbestos for centuries, large scale mining of these minerals only began at the end of the 1800s. By the early 1900s, people already suspected asbestos of having long-term health implications, but businesses continued to use it in products and expose workers to it without protection. Because they did not take steps to prevent a common sense danger or reduce risk, they may be liable for the injuries and deaths that result from that inaction.
What can you recover in a wrongful death lawsuit?
Generally speaking, only certain parties can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Those people typically include the spouses, domestic partners, children or stepchildren of the deceased. In cases where there are no such relationships, the parents or dependent siblings in a family can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally, families sue for an amount that includes lost wages, medical expenses and funeral costs, therapy expenses for surviving family members and similar losses.
The law allows for a trial by jury in wrongful death cases, and it also gives juries quite a bit of power. The jurors may assess whatever damages seem just to them, given the circumstances of the individual case. That could include substantial punitive damages or even funds for pain and suffering caused by the death.
Imagine working for years in the same refinery until you were ready to retire. You were spending your weekends on the golf course or taking the occasional fishing trip with your friends. However, after several years, you start noticing significant changes in your health. You visit your doctor and find out that you have been experiencing the symptoms of mesothelioma. Now you are facing high medical bills that will eat into your and your wife's retirement savings. Since your disease was caused by continuous exposure to dangerous toxins in the workplace, you might be entitled to compensation.
If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma due to exposure in a work environment, you should immediately seek legal counsel. An attorney in the Seattle area can help you determine if you are eligible for compensation for your illness. Read further to learn more about the causes and symptoms of mesothelioma.
Exposure to asbestos is the leading cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos is composed of minerals that have tiny fibers, which seem safe due to their heat and fire resistance. In addition, the fibers are not conductive and also do not absorb or break down with most chemicals. When industries use asbestos, workers risk exposure to the material. Individuals can easily inhale or swallow asbestos if the tiny particles are in the air.
Other minerals, zeolites, are also known for causing mesothelioma. This mineral is similar to asbestos but is found in the soil of very specific areas. Another cause of mesothelioma is radiation. However, these cases are much rarer. Most of these cases of mesothelioma occur after a person suffers doses of radiation. Studies have shown that the simian virus 40 may also be a contributing factor for people that have a mesothelioma diagnosis.
It can take 20 to 50 years for mesothelioma symptoms to manifest after your first exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath and chest pains is the most common indicators of mesothelioma of the lungs. If you swallowed asbestos, you are more likely to experience weight loss, abdominal swelling and pain, anemia and fever.
Mesothelioma is a cancer, and if left untreated, it could spread to other parts of the body. If this happens, you might experience pain, problems swallowing and possible swelling in your neck or face. Since this disease has symptoms that are very common for other conditions, you may be suffering from another issue. Only a doctor can diagnose your condition so that you can get proper medical treatment.
If you have been suffering from the effects of asbestos exposure, it is important to remember that you have rights and options. You may be entitled to certain benefits due to exposure to dangerous substances in the workplace.
Do you have asbestos in your house? Unfortunately the answer may be yes, depending on when your home was built and the materials used. Asbestos is a highly-effective fire-retardant material that was used as an insulator in many homes and commercial buildings until the 1970s. Homes built between the 1940s and 1970s used asbestos as a thermal and acoustic insulator.
Asbestos is known to cause serious health complications, including lung disease and Mesothelioma. This is because asbestos is made up of tiny particles, described as abrasive fibers, which can lead to lung disease and other ailments when it is inhaled.
Common materials that may contain asbestos
Asbestos exposure happens when a material or product containing asbestos is disturbed and the tiny particles are released into the air and breathed in. Exposure to asbestos is hazardous. It is important to be aware of the common materials in your home that may contain asbestos and if asbestos is found, proper safety protocols should be followed when removing this dangerous material to avoid breathing in any particles.
Common materials in your home that may contain asbestos include:
Basement boilers and pipes
Vinyl floor tiles
Attic insulation that was blown in
Some types of linoleum
Some types of paint
It is important to note that finding asbestos in your home may not pose any hazards if the material is in good condition and will not be moved or disturbed. However, it is best to contact an asbestos abatement contractor and a local Environmental Protection Agency office to determine what next steps to take.
When to seek legal help
Asbestos exposure can cause serious health problems and death. Filing a Mesothelioma and asbestos-related lawsuit may be an option to help you move forward with your life. Consider contacting an attorney with experience handling asbestos claims to discuss your legal options.