From Diagnosis to Getting Legal Help: A Complete Guide to Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue covering most of your internal organs. Unfortunately, it is one of the aggressive forms of cancer that spreads incredibly faster, leaving no room for a cure. Most of the diagnosed mesothelioma cases are already at stage IV. The doctors cannot do anything but provide symptoms relieving treatment to the patient. One of the most common causes or risk factors associated with the development of this cancer is asbestos. It is a group of minerals forming thin yet strong fibers often used in construction and other manufacturing processes.
Due to its heat resistance, asbestos has been in use for years and predominantly came to use after WWII for insulation, tiling, and roofing purposes. These fibers, when released in the air, become inhalable leading to serious health issues. 75% of diagnosed mesothelioma cases are due to the prolonged exposure to asbestos at work. Studies also confirm that family members or other people living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma. This article serves as a complete guide for you to understand the diagnosis and other legal procedures involved while dealing with patients with Mesothelioma.
1. Understanding the Legal Aspects
Suppose you or your loved ones have a history of asbestos exposure and are diagnosed with mesothelioma. In that case, you can gather enough evidence to claim and pursue the damages through a lawsuit. Suppose you think that your employer’s negligence has put you in this misery. In that case, mesothelioma attorneys are your best resources to understand the legal aspects and file claims. In addition, you may need to understand all the procedures involved in filing a claim and compensation settlements. It is often quite difficult for people to keep track of the legal aspect. Still, an expert lawyer can help you get through the procedures.
2. Types of Mesothelioma
Doctors have categorized mesothelioma into four types based on their penetration patterns, occurrence rate, and target organs.
- Pleural Mesothelioma: It is the most common type of the diagnosed case. It targets the lining surrounding the lungs. People often confuse this type of mesothelioma with lung cancer.
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma: It affects the tissues surrounding the abdominal area known as the peritoneum.
- Pericardial Mesothelioma: It is one of the rare mesothelioma types. It affects the lining of the heart. The diagnosed cases for this type of cancer are around 1%.
- Testicular Mesothelioma: The diagnosed cases of this kind are less than 1% of the mesothelioma cases. It targets the lining around the testicles.
3. Symptoms and Diagnosis
The earliest signs of mesothelioma often include cough, shortness of breath, chest, shoulder, or abdominal pain. These symptoms can appear confusing as they coincide with common diseases like fever, flu, or common cold. Most of the time, the symptoms go unnoticed, and the cases only get diagnosed in the later stages.
The diagnosis often starts with doctors noticing early signs of mesothelioma. Conducting baseline diagnostic tests like X-rays or blood tests can help identify something unusual that doesn’t fit well with the symptoms. Then, as these symptoms have a great resemblance with a less dreadful disease, your doctor may recommend a biopsy or CT scan to confirm the presence of cancer. Researchers are also working to invent innovative testing techniques for the early diagnosis of mesothelioma, like a breath test.
4. Possible Treatments
There are five types of standard treatment are used:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
Usually, the diagnosis occurs at the last stage. However, doctors can still try treatments like chemotherapy to shrink mesothelioma tumors and slow down their growth. Different studies have enabled specialists to perform HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy) for peritoneal mesothelioma to control the symptoms and increase life expectancy.
Your doctor must have suggested treatments and palliative care measures. Treatments work best when combined with preventive measures to avoid any further complications. You can also opt for some preventative measures that can prevent you from the risk of developing mesothelioma. Suppose you are a construction worker and your site involves asbestos exposure. In that case, it is time to ask your employer for safety gear if they haven’t provided one. If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, we recommend that you find an alternative line of work to prevent yourself from further asbestos exposure.
Furthermore, if your house is quite old and built when asbestos use was legal, it is time to remove it or look for a replacement. But, first, get the insulation material tested for your roofs and the ones used in attics. These were the most common sites of asbestos insulation.
Cancers are one of the most deadly diseases that we know of today. Some forms of cancers are benign, and others are malignant. The malignant ones have a fast spread, but doctors can slow down their growth through treatments. However, when dealing with rare and aggressive forms of cancers like mesothelioma, the diagnosis often gets confused with the commonality of symptoms with other diseases. Once diagnosed, the progression of the disease is already in its later stages, leaving little to no room for treatment. However, knowing the symptoms of the disease can make it possible for an early diagnosis. In addition, taking preventive measures at work while dealing with asbestos can reduce the chances of cancer development.
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