Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. North American mining of asbestos minerals and its commercial use began in the 1800s. By 1950, the United States was the world’s largest user of asbestos, incorporating the naturally occurring mineral into a wide variety of industrial and consumer products. By the 1930s, the asbestos industry, their insurance companies and manufacturers of these products knew that asbestos was causing a significant number of worker deaths, and yet this information was withheld from workers and the public. Much of the industry did not notify workers of the dangers or provide protection for workers until the U.S. government stepped in and began asbestos regulation in the 1970s. Despite regulations, people today are still diagnosed with mesothelioma and other serious illnesses caused by asbestos exposure in and outside the workplace.
In this portion of our website you can learn more about mesothelioma, its causes and what you can do if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with this serious condition or any other asbestos-related illness. All you have to do is click on any of the subjects below:
People may be exposed to asbestos inside or outside of the workplace. Workers in construction and manufacturing or who mined asbestos are at particular risk, though strict regulations are now in place to protect consumers and employees alike. Medical conditions caused by asbestos exposure may not become evident or diagnosed for anywhere from 15 to 50 years after the initial exposure, meaning some people are now suffering the ill-effects of exposure that occurred before the mineral was regulated.
Types of Asbestos
There are six minerals that are categorized as asbestos: chrysotile asbestos, amosite asbestos, crocidolite asbestos, tremolite asbestos, anthophyllite asbestos and actinolite asbestos. All of these are known carcinogens, meaning they are cancer-causing substances. Different types of asbestos may be more dangerous depending on the type of fiber, such as a needle-like fiber or a curly fiber. Needle-like fibers are more easily ingested and lodged in the mesothelium and lung tissue.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
There are various symptoms of mesothelioma, some of which may not present themselves for 20 to 50 years after exposure. They may also be mistaken for day-to-day ailments. Mesothelioma symptoms include: anemia, chest pain, bowel obstruction, difficulty swallowing, coughing (even coughing up blood), nausea and weight loss.
Causes of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers are inhaled through the mouth and lungs, eventually becoming embedded in the lining of the lungs. Asbestos fibers can also be swallowed, affecting the lining of the abdomen. Direct or second-hand exposure may lead to mesothelioma.
Types of Mesothelioma
There are three primary types of mesothelioma: pleural mesothelioma (affecting the chest cavity and lungs), peritoneal mesothelioma (affecting the abdominal organs and cavity) and pericardial mesothelioma (affecting the lining of the heart).
Lung cancer is one of the consequences of asbestos exposure. Though it is most often associated with smoking and secondhand smoke, lung cancer may also be caused by asbestos exposure. When asbestos fibers are inhaled by a worker, family member of a worker or other person exposed to asbestos or an asbestos-containing product, they may become lodged in the person’s lung tissue. Asbestos fibers cause irritation, swelling and possibly may lead to the development of cancerous cells in the lung tissue.
Who is at Risk?
There are certain types of workers and other people who may be seen as having a greater risk of contracting mesothelioma from asbestos exposure. This includes people in certain occupations, such as miners, construction workers and industrial workers. It also includes the families of these workers, through secondhand exposure, as well as members of the military and people that have used or worked with asbestos-containing products.
Contact a Mesothelioma Attorney Today
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and would like to discuss your right to take legal action against the party or parties responsible for your exposure to asbestos, it is important to review your options with an attorney. A professional can review the circumstances surrounding your medical condition and exposure in order to determine the best possible course of action. For a free consultation and case review, contact a mesothelioma lawyer at our office today.