Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Except in rare cases, it takes 10 to 50 years to develop symptoms after asbestos exposure. Then the disease progresses rapidly, with most patients dying an extremely painful death in less than two years.
Mesothelioma is caused by inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers. Asbestos has been used for its heat and fire resistant properties in thousands of products since the late 1800s, even though the health risks have been known and documented since the early 1900s. In fact, heavy use of asbestos did not begin until the 1940s.
Asbestos is a common ingredient in construction materials of all types in older homes, including:
As long as the asbestos remains sealed and contained, you’re not at risk of inhaling the fibers. However, as homes age and deteriorate, the asbestos becomes exposed. Remodeling or even making small repairs can release the fibers, exposing you and your family. Asbestos is found in common household items, as well.
At greatest risk are people who work with asbestos. High risk industries and environments include:
- Oil refineries
- Small appliance manufacture
- Automotive manufacture and repair
Workers inadvertently expose their loved ones to asbestos by bringing the fibers home on their clothing and in their belongings. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, anyone who lived in your household at the time may be at risk of developing this or some other asbestos-related illness.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is often confused with lung cancer because the most common type of mesothelioma affects the lungs. However, there is a distinct difference.
Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium. The mesothelium is the protective lining around the lungs, abdominal organs, and heart. Pleural mesothelioma is cancer of the lung pleura — the lining around the lungs — and is the most common type. However, mesothelioma can also invade the lining of the heart, abdominal area, and testicles.
Most patients diagnosed with mesothelioma are usually given less than a year to live. Early detection gives patients a better chance at survival, as the most advanced and effective treatments are available only to those in the early stages of the disease.
Asbestos Exposure Continues
High risk industries continue to expose workers on a daily basis. Thousands of older homes, buildings, and schools still contain asbestos. In natural disasters, accidents, and other catastrophes, asbestos which was sealed and contained is released, exposing first responders and anyone in the area.
If you have developed mesothelioma because of your exposure to asbestos, the lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers can help you receive compensation for your damages. At your initial free consultation, we will review the events of your case and advise you on the best way to proceed.