Mesothelioma is a rare cancer typically caused by asbestos exposure. Beginning in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart, this cancer is typically diagnosed at late, advanced stages when treatments are less effective. While the symptoms can be managed with different treatments, there is no cure for this disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or you suspect you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to know what mesothelioma is and what your options are for legal recourse.
The Frost Law Firm, PC represents asbestos-exposure victims in Hawaii. When negligent workplaces expose employees to asbestos and mesothelioma develops as a result, the injured employees have a right to seek compensation for their losses. Filing a claim is a complicated process, which is why it’s best to have a dedicated and informed lawyer by your side. Let’s start by taking a look at some key facts about mesothelioma.
Key Facts About Mesothelioma
According to the American Lung Association, there are approximately 3,500 new cases of mesothelioma annually in the United States. When asbestos fibers enter into the lungs, they can penetrate deeply because of their small size. When they accumulate near the lining of the lung, also called the pleura, the fibers can cause inflammation and abnormal growth of the mesothelial cells. It is the abnormal growth that leads to the tumor nodules. As mentioned, asbestos fibers can also cause cancer in the abdomen and heart; however, those diagnoses are considerably rarer.
It can take 20 to 50 years for mesothelioma to develop after prolonged asbestos exposure. This is why the majority of patients diagnosed with the condition are age 60 or older. It’s also relevant to note that because exposure typically happens in industries like construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and the armed forces, the majority of patients are male.
Early symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to those of pneumonia or the flu. A person could experience wheezing, dry coughs, shortness of breath, chest pain, or abdominal pain. It’s important to note that symptoms vary depending on the patient and can take decades to appear.
Common diagnostic tests include X-rays, CT scans, and fluid and tissue biopsies. Depending on the stage of the cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are possible treatment options. However, because of the rarity of this cancer and the lack of a cure, most patients’ symptoms are managed with palliative care treatments.
Survival rates are dependent upon the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed. Most patients have in the realm of 12 to 24 months after the cancer is discovered, but every patient’s prognosis is different.
Mesothelioma Risk Factors
There are no naturally occurring asbestos deposits on the Hawaiian islands. This means that all asbestos exposure is the result of commercial activity. A person’s chances of receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis increase with the following risk factors:
- Occupational Exposure. The majority of mesothelioma patients were exposed to asbestos in industrial and commercial settings.
- Veterans’ Exposure. It’s estimated that one-third of mesothelioma patients are veterans, making veterans the largest group of people with this type of cancer. This is because asbestos was used extensively in every branch of the military because of its insulating and fire-retardant properties.
- Secondary Exposure. Family members of those directly exposed to asbestos can be at risk for secondary exposure. This happens when fibers and dust particles are inhaled from work clothes. This is most often associated with how women can develop peritoneal mesothelioma.
No matter how exposure occurs, it’s likely negligence played a role. If you’ve received a mesothelioma diagnosis, our attorneys can look into your case and determine if you’re eligible for compensation.
Knowing When to See a Doctor
If you believe you’ve experienced exposure to asbestos at some point in your life and you are now having unexplained pain or symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Because of how rare mesothelioma is, it’s not uncommon for it to be misdiagnosed early on. The cancer is hard to diagnose because of the gap in time from the exposure period to when symptoms begin to surface. Common misdiagnoses include upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder, or a type of lung cancer.
In order to ensure you receive the proper diagnosis and treatment plan, it’s a good idea to seek a second opinion if you’re concerned about your initial diagnosis.
Preventing Mesothelioma Exposure in Workplaces
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos and have received a cancer diagnosis, it’s important to understand that a company could be held legally liable for your damages. Workplaces and industries are required to abide by federal and state regulations when it comes to having employees come in contact with asbestos. For example, employers are supposed to provide protective equipment to reduce the risk of inhaling asbestos particles. It’s also important for employers to train their workers on how to safely conduct themselves around dangerous substances.
If you believe a company you worked for did not do their part in preventing asbestos exposure, you may be able to file a claim to hold them accountable for your mesothelioma diagnosis. There are a number of well-known companies in Hawaii that have been found exposing others to asbestos, and it’s possible you may have worked for one.
Helping Mesothelioma Victims in Hawaii
Mesothelioma patients or family members in Hawaii and across the United States have the right to sue companies responsible for asbestos exposure. The sooner you get in touch with a Hawaii mesothelioma lawyer from Frost Law Firm, PC, the better your chances are of receiving full and fair compensation for your losses and suffering.
Our lawyers are here to help you during this difficult time. We have extensive experiencing representing mesothelioma victims and we’re prepared to take your case on. Schedule a case evaluation with us today. We’ll begin by evaluating your situation and helping you determine if filing a claim is in your best interests.