Mesothelioma is a life-changing disease. At least 3,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with this aggressive type of cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society. If you’ve ever been exposed to asbestos, it’s a good idea to get checked out for mesothelioma. If diagnosed, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Keep reading to learn more about how to get checked for mesothelioma.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer. There are four types of mesothelioma, including:
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma. It is usually caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.
Incidences of mesothelioma peaked in the 1980s and 1990s due to asbestos exposure from building materials and military equipment. It’s most common among those who previously worked with asbestos in the construction and manufacturing industries. Mesothelioma can develop even years after exposure. It often takes between 20 and 60 years for symptoms to show.
How To Get Checked for Mesothelioma
If you have a history of asbestos exposure and experience symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, and digestive issues, call your doctor immediately to get checked for mesothelioma. This type of cancer is often misdiagnosed, so it’s best to get multiple opinions.
During your initial consultation, you can expect your doctor to review your history, your symptoms, and a course of action for diagnostic testing. From there, your physician will order tests. The following three methods are the most common ways doctors diagnose mesothelioma:
Doctors often begin checking for mesothelioma with imaging. X-rays are a common place to start. If a doctor notices any abnormalities, he or she may order additional imaging, such as the following:
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
Blood tests are another common way to test for mesothelioma. You will visit a doctor’s office or laboratory to get blood drawn and tested for various markers associated with this aggressive cancer.
Doctors often look for high levels of fibulin-3, cancerous antigen 125, osteopontin, and soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP) when checking for mesothelioma. The following are common blood tests ordered by doctors to help diagnose mesothelioma:
- Human MPF
If imaging or blood tests reveal concerning results, then doctors will typically move to biopsies to confirm any suspected mesothelioma diagnosis. Specialists collect tissue or fluid samples and test them for cancer. Biopsies may be non-surgical or surgical. The following are common types of biopsies for mesothelioma diagnoses:
- Thoracoscopy: This is a type of surgical biopsy that can accurately detect 98% of mesothelioma cases. It involves using a camera to biopsy the chest.
- Thoracotomy: In this type of surgical biopsy, doctors collect tissue samples from the chest cavity to test for mesothelioma.
- Cytology test: Cytology tests are a non-surgical type of biopsy wherein a doctor extracts fluid and tests it for cancer cells.
- Mediastinoscopy: This is a type of surgical biopsy that tests tissues from the lymph nodes in the middle of the chest between the lungs.
- Laparoscopy: Laparoscopy is another type of surgical biopsy that uses a camera to survey the abdominal cavity for peritoneal mesothelioma.
- Laparotomy: During a laparotomy procedure, a doctor surgically collects tissue samples from the abdominal cavity to test for cancerous cells that indicate peritoneal mesothelioma.
Patients confirmed to have malignant melanoma often undergo surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy per the American Cancer Society.
What To Know About Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Individuals who were exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma often take legal action by filing lawsuits against asbestos product manufacturers to recover compensation to pay for medical costs and other disease-related damages.
Patients who tend to be most afflicted by mesothelioma and thus file these lawsuits are individuals who have worked in the following industries:
- Chemical refining
- Auto mechanics
- Power generation
- Military service
The list above is far from an exhaustive one. Countless individuals who have worked in other industries have also been exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma. Homeowners could have even come into contact with this harmful substance by simply living in the environment with it. Family members may have also unknowingly been exposed to asbestos through contact with a loved ones’ contaminated clothing.
If you or a loved one has suffered from mesothelioma, contact an attorney that specializes in mesothelioma litigation like ours here at Frost Law Firm, PC. The following are common types of mesothelioma lawsuits:
- Personal injury lawsuit: Living individuals affected by mesothelioma can file a mesothelioma personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, dependent support, travel expenses, and pain and suffering.
- Wrongful death lawsuit: Loved ones or estate representatives may file a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one who passed away due to the negligence of asbestos-containing product manufacturers.
Typical compensation victims receive by filing mesothelioma lawsuits vary depending on the severity of a patient’s condition, the extent of their exposure, the jurisdiction, the experience of the law firm and other factors.
How To Proceed if You Suspect You’re Suffering From Mesothelioma
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos and experience symptoms of mesothelioma, call your doctor. They can assess your symptoms and help run diagnostics to determine if you have the disease.
If you receive a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may be eligible to sue guilty parties to help cover medical expenses and other damages. Contact one of our Frost Law Firm, PC attorneys that specializes in mesothelioma litigation to build a case and get a chance at the financial justice you deserve.