Asbestos is a hazardous highly fibrous material that can cause serious health consequences especially when the microscopic fibers become airborne. Asbestos was used for many years in various commercial and industrial businesses because of its durability and resistance to heat and chemicals. Some of the industries that have a high incidence of direct asbestos exposures are shipbuilding, mining, construction, textiles, roofing, and auto mechanics. Although less common, workers can also bring the deadly fibers home with them on their clothes and inadvertently cause second-hand exposures to their family members. An asbestos exposure has been linked to a number of different diseases including mesothelioma. The use of asbestos is now strictly regulated as it is considered a human carcinogen.
Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive, and deadly cancer caused almost exclusively by the exposure to asbestos. Most cases of mesothelioma are caused by a workplace exposure. Each year, nearly 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in the United States. Once asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, the fibers become trapped in the body and begin to accumulate causing inflammation and scar tissue. The body is unable to break it down or eliminate it. The fibers and scar tissue are able to remain in an individual’s body for years before any symptoms become apparent.
Mesothelioma occurs in the thin membranes called the mesothelium that surround and protect the internal organs such as the lungs, chest, and abdomen. The mesothelioma cells can spread quickly to other parts of the body. This dangerous disease is unique in that it has a very long latency period, which means that the symptoms of the disease do not appear for 10 to 50 years after an exposure to asbestos. Once the symptoms surface, the mesothelioma disease progresses quickly and most patients die within two years of a diagnosis. There are three major types of mesothelioma.
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of malignant mesothelioma and accounts for about 75% of all mesothelioma cases. This type of mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs known as the pleura and may spread from there. Patients present with symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, a dry cough, difficulty swallowing, fever, and fatigue. Pleural mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed for other respiratory illnesses such as cold, flu, pneumonia, and even lung cancer.
Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdominal cavity. Approximately 10-20 percent of all mesothelioma cases are of this type. Patients complain of abdominal pain and swelling, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and fatigue.
This type of mesothelioma develops in the lining of the heart known as the pericardium and is considered the rarest form of the disease. Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, heart murmurs, and heart palpitations.
While there is not cure for mesothelioma, early detection of this horrible disease can provide patients with a jumpstart on the treatment, more opportunity to manage the disease, and most importantly, the greatest chance of a better quality of life. Mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose because the presenting symptoms often mimic the symptoms associated with other conditions. A thorough patient history needs to be reviewed along with an in-depth review of an individual’s history of asbestos exposure. In addition, a slew of diagnostic tests may be needed such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and biopsies. Once a definitive diagnosis is established, the physician will discuss in great detail with the patient the treatment options that are available to them based on the form and stage of mesothelioma. Treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy, radiation therapy, alternative treatments such as holistic therapies, or even the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial. Research is always ongoing when it comes to developing new treatments for mesothelioma.
If an individual’s mesothelioma is caused by an occupational exposure to asbestos, a patient needs to consider pursuing a mesothelioma lawsuit to recover compensation for his or her losses. It is imperative to seek legal representation from a qualified mesothelioma attorney who can prepare a solid case against those who were responsible for the asbestos exposure. Victims of the disease may have a right to recover compensation for medical care and treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It is important to understand that each state has a deadline, called statutes of limitation, that regulate when a claim or lawsuit can be filed after becoming aware that you have an asbestos-related disease or mesothelioma. Families of a loved one that has died may also have standing to pursue a mesothelioma claim.
The Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler are committed to helping the victims and their families who are suffering from the deadly disease, mesothelioma, as well as other asbestos-related diseases. Our experienced and knowledgeable legal team of mesothelioma attorneys has seen firsthand the pain and suffering that a mesothelioma diagnosis can cause and have dedicated a key area of their practice to helping those affected by this lethal but preventable disease.
If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos or diagnosed with mesothelioma, we encourage you to contact Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler to speak with an experienced attorney about the details of your situation and the legal options that are available to you. We can assist you in preparing a mesothelioma lawsuit, fight for your rights, and secure you the financial compensation to which you are entitled.
Our mesothelioma attorneys have represented clients throughout the Pennsylvania area including Philadelphia County, Chester County, and Delaware County as well as the communities of Bala Cynwyd, Darby, Ardmore, Narberth, Lansdowne, and Gladwyne. Call our Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at 215-569-4000 to schedule a free and confidential consultation or submit an online contact form.