Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that results from exposure to asbestos and affects the lungs, heart or abdomen. The disease is aggressive, incurable and often quickly fatal. Although a diagnosis of mesothelioma is rare, rates have been increasing over the years, reports the CDC.
Therefore, it is important to know the risk factors so you can recognize if you are in danger of developing or have already developed this cancer. If so, speak to a lawyer about your options.
Because the only proven cause is asbestos, those who work around the material are most at risk for the disease. These people are usually in the mining, milling, construction and railroad industries. Inhalation of asbestos is the most common form of exposure, though sometimes swallowing fibers can happen. The particles settle into the lining of the affected organs, eventually resulting in tumors.
Unfortunately, not just employees of dangerous jobs are at risk. Their families can be, too, due to the transfer of the material through clothing and other belongings. Additionally, those who live in older homes with asbestos insulation may experience exposure. Age and smoking habits also contribute to the likeliness of developing mesothelioma.
Signs of this disease can take years to show up. They may also be different depending on the location of the cancer. Some symptoms include:
If you have a high level of risk, you are experiencing any of these symptoms, and they are not from another illness, receive a medical evaluation promptly.
Although there is no cure, and life expectancy is low, all hope is not lost. How treatable the disease is depends on what stage the cancer is in, where the cancer originated, how far it has spread and which cell type it is. Your age and health also play a role in the effectiveness of treatment.