Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that attacks the tissue surrounding the body’s internal organs known as the mesothelium. The function of this tissue is to provide the fluid that acts as a lubricant to aid the movement of the organs. Although there are three different forms of mesothelioma, 75 percent of all cases are pleural, originating in the chest cavity. The exposure to asbestos in large amounts, or over an extended period of time, is the sole recognized cause of pleural mesothelioma. The tissue cells become damaged and scarred by the fibers of asbestos leading to the production of cancerous cells. These cells divide rapidly, creating tumors that build up fluid and thicken membranes.
Following many years of dormancy in the body, the warning signs of mesothelioma will become evident. The patient is usually diagnosed in the advanced stages of the disease. The manifestation of the latent cells may not be for 20 to 50 years following exposure to asbestos. The disease is often misdiagnosed in it early stages as bronchitis, pneumonia or flu as the symptoms mimic those conditions. A dry or painful cough, loss of appetite, fever and weight loss are some of the symptoms of mesothelioma. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, which are common signs of pneumonia, may also be signs of mesothelioma.
Almost all cases of mesothelioma can be traced to exposure to asbestos in the workplace. The disease was first discovered among asbestos mine workers in the early 1900’s. The use of the hazardous material increased steadily through the 20th century, despite the known danger of exposure, until it was regulated in the 1970’s. It’s fire resistant and non-conductive properties made it a popular material in the building industry. There are over 700,000 buildings in the U.S. that still contain asbestos, estimates show.
The Latest Wave of Mesothelioma Sufferers
Exposure prior to and during the 1970’s was common among factory, construction and demolition workers. Almost every industry used asbestos in one form or another. These workers, who are reaching their sixties and seventies today, make up the latest wave of new mesothelioma cases. Asbestos remediation companies have sprung up nationwide, focused solely on the safe removal of asbestos from anywhere that asbestos products were used including commercial buildings, schools, institutions and even homes. In most cases installed asbestos products do not pose a threat to health unless they are in a form referred to as friable. Friable asbestos is that which is easily crumbled, such as pipe insulation or acoustic ceiling tiles. Friable asbestos has a much greater likelihood of releasing harmful fibers, which can be inhaled over time leading to mesothelioma in the distant future. Solid items containing asbestos like roofing shingles and floor tiles are not likely to release any fibers. Any building or home constructed prior to 1980 should be inspected for the presence of asbestos. Some asbestos products can be safely contained while others require removal.
Workers Kept from the Truth
The dangers of asbestos exposure were known by many manufacturers and employers throughout the last century but were hidden from workers. For years they worked in a hazardous environment completely unaware. When the government finally placed regulations on the manufacture and use of asbestos, it was too late for many of these workers who developed the disease decades later. Many, who suffer, or have a loved one who suffers or died from the disease, have taken legal action against employers and asbestos manufacturers.
If You or a Loved One Were Exposed to Asbestos
There is great pain and suffering associated with mesothelioma, not only physically and emotionally but also financially, due to medical bills and loss of income. If you or a loved one suffers from mesothelioma, your first priority should be recovering your health or your loved ones health. New treatments are available and there are support groups to provide solace and aid. After finding the proper medical and emotional support, contact an experienced asbestos attorney. The attorney will work with doctors to determine the cause and severity of your disease. There may be compensation available for your medical bills, loss of income as well as pain and suffering and punitive damages in some cases.
Vititoe Law Group has successfully represented many asbestos related mesothelioma cases. The attorneys are well aware of the trauma of your diagnosis and knowing the affect it will have on you and your loved ones both present and future. For a no cost, confidential evaluation of your case, contact Vititoe Law Group at 818-851-1886. We are here to help you and your loved ones recover everything you deserve. No recovery, no fee.