Mesothelioma is a relatively rare disease, and fortunately exposure to asbestos has become less common over the past few decades; but those who are affected by it face a variety of long-term health issues. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure via inhalation or swallowing. Once the asbestos fibers have been ingested, they can affect the lungs, heart, and other vital organs. One of the difficult parts of diagnosing and treating mesothelioma is that the disease may not begin to affect the body for between 20 and 50 years after the initial exposure. Commonly affected trades at risk include construction workers, contractors, and carpenters, among others.
Between its rarity and the extensive incubation period, understanding the extent of the damage mesothelioma causes can be difficult. Once mesothelioma becomes symptomatic, most patients tend to live two years or less. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or have worked in conditions that may put you at a higher risk of exposure, it is important to know what methods of treatment, clinical trials, and other options are available to you. Forehand knowledge of the effects it will have on the body can also help you make preparations to make day to day life easier.
Chest pain is a common symptom of mesothelioma, and is one of the earliest to appear. The chest pain may increase as the tumor increases pressure on the lungs. Shortness of breath tends to accompany the advancement of the illness, making many activities more difficult. Pleural effusions, which is the collecting of fluids due to inflammatory response, also contribute to difficulty breathing and pain. These effusions can be relieved by draining the fluid, which can be repeated as often as necessary. Fluid buildup can also be present in the stomach in peritoneal mesothelioma.
Unfortunately, while the effects of mesothelioma are significant, the treatments themselves can also pose problems for patients. While there is currently no cure for the disease, chemotherapy and radiation are used (as with many other cancers) to reduce the size of tumors and provide a better quality of life. Surgery can also be an option for those in early stages, by removing tumors and mesothelial lining or lymph nodes. Many treatments involve a combination, or “multimodal” treatments, and are intended to spread out the negative effects and better combat tumors. There are also a number of experimental treatments, such as gene therapy and photodynamic therapy.
If you feel that you are at risk for mesothelioma, or if you have already been diagnosed, it is important to seek proper representation. The Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler are dedicated to providing clients with the highest quality representation available to ensure that they have access to treatment and other methods for improving their quality of life. Contact us online, or call 215-569-4000 or toll-free at 800-369-0899 for a free consultation. We assist clients throughout the area, including those in Philadelphia County, Chester County, Delaware County and New Jersey.