Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a fiber that can get trapped inside the body. Once the fibers are trapped, it begins to irritate the tissues, leading to disease.
A patient’s mesothelioma diagnosis will differ, depending on their consumption of the asbestos. This means that they may have a different type of mesothelioma if they ingested the fibers than they would if they inhaled the fibers. This can ultimately impact the progression of the disease, the symptoms, and other important details.
There are several different types of mesothelioma that affect different parts of the body. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma. This type of mesothelioma makes up about 75 percent of all cases. Pleural mesothelioma affects the pleura, which is the lining of the lungs. This type of mesothelioma develops when a person inhales asbestos fibers. The asbestos gets trapped in the lining of the lungs and will slowly start to cause inflammation. Ultimately, this inflammation and scarring leads to the development of the disease.
The second most frequent kind of mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma. This type affects the peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdomen. Although peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common type of mesothelioma, it still only makes up about 10 percent of cases. There are several other smaller types of mesothelioma, however, they are quite rare.
Some doctors believe that a person may contract this condition from ingesting asbestos fibers, which then get trapped in the peritoneum. The primary difference with the types of mesotheliomas is the location in which they reside in the body. Peritoneal mesothelioma resides in the peritoneum, the thin membrane that surrounds the abdominal cavity and the surface of the abdominal organs.
Different types of mesothelioma can be described by cell type. There are three types: epithelial, sarcomatoid, and biphasic. Epithelial responds best to treatment options and has a sheet-like appearance. Sarcomatoid tends to be more aggressive in nature. Biphasic is a combination of the two cells.
Reducing overall exposure to asbestos may lower the risk of contracting any form of mesothelioma. Most people with a form of mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos fibers due to the work environment. Some positions that may increase exposure include shipyard workers, home remodelers, pipefitters, and insulators. The best practice is to ask the employer if the position increases the risk of asbestos exposure.
Following the employers safety regulations such as wearing protective equipment can reduce the exposure and spread of asbestos fibers. Additionally, talking to a doctor about precautions is helpful.
There are instances where asbestos is in older homes and buildings. It is dangerous to move asbestos because it makes the fibers easier to inhale. Leave it intact and hire professionals to remove it safely.
The initial symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may mimic less serious gastrointestinal conditions. Anyone with a history of asbestos exposure should monitor their health and make a doctor appointment if any of the following symptoms arise:
Once pleural mesothelioma spreads to the chest, pressure is felt in that region of the body but also includes complications like:
Routine laboratory tests generally do not help to diagnose this type of mesothelioma. Specific blood tests can help to diagnose peritoneal mesothelioma. Additionally, a CT scan will usually show a lesion in the peritoneum, or the abdominal cavity will contain fluid called ascites. While there could be cancer cells floating in the fluid, only a biopsy of the peritoneum can confirm this.
After receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis, the doctor will provide treatment routes. Consider the next steps to take with loved ones, affordability of treatments, and if additional affairs are in order. While there may be a hundred different questions to have the doctor answer, focus on the facts. Seek a second opinion from a specialist that has experience treating mesothelioma. Compare and contrast treatment options. Learn more about the illness and how it affects the body.
Although the average life expectancy of peritoneal mesothelioma patients is 12 months, patients who go the cytoreductive surgery route can survive for more than five years. Surgical peritoneal patients live four times longer than the average pleural mesothelioma patient. Other treatment routes include heated chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
Finding a support network of friends and family can make the journey less fearful. In situations where friends or family cannot be relied on, seek an oncology social worker that can provide local and national resources to help manage the illness. A cancer support group is another great option to connect with people who are newly diagnosed patients and those who have had mesothelioma for an extended amount of time.
When a decision has been made on the treatment route, stay physically strong for the entire journey by maintaining a healthy diet and exercise. Good nutrition can help the body heal.
Pennsylvania has National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to oversee asbestos standards. There is also the Asbestos Occupations Abatement Accreditation and Certification Act to ensure various work-related rules and regulations are adhered to. If code is not adhered to, there are legal actions that can be taken. Contact a lawyer to see if the job site has a history of exposing workers to asbestos.
The length of time an individual has to file a mesothelioma lawsuit varies from state to state. The length of time will also vary, depending on whether the case is for a personal injury or a wrongful death lawsuit. In Pennsylvania, a personal injury case can be filed within two years after a mesothelioma diagnosis, and for a wrongful death, it can be filed two years after the death. To avoid missing a filing deadline, it is best to gather evidence and file and claim quickly.
A victim of mesothelioma has various financial and legal options. The main focus should be getting rid of the disease. A lawyer experienced in mesothelioma cases can make the process stress-free, so the victim can focus on healing. The compensation can be used to pay for medical costs, lost wages, and unforeseen expenses to the victim and the victim’s family.
If you have peritoneal mesothelioma, you need to contact a Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyer at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. Our lawyers help clients dealing with the financial and emotional burden of mesothelioma. Contact us online or call us at 215-569-4000 for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.