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Mesothelioma is a rare cancer in the thin lining surrounding some organs. The only known cause is asbestos exposure. While the prognosis is typically poor, treatment options have extended patients’ life expectancies. There may be legal options available to help cover medical and other expenses.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos. Breathing in or swallowing airborne asbestos fibers can lead to an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma.
Companies used asbestos because it is cheap, durable and fire-resistant. Asbestos was used in machinery parts, construction materials and many other products. As a result, workers in various industries risked exposure, as well as anyone around disturbed asbestos materials.
What Are the Types of Mesothelioma?
There are four types of mesothelioma:
The type of mesothelioma can affect the symptoms felt, the treatment options and the prognosis.
Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma has a long latency period. This means it can take 10–50 years after exposure for symptoms to start.
Unfortunately, common mesothelioma symptoms are often similar to other diseases. These similarities can make diagnosing mesothelioma tough. Common symptoms include:
Talk to your doctor if you have these symptoms and if you believe you have experienced asbestos exposure.
How Is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
Diagnosing mesothelioma starts when you see your doctor about not feeling well. A doctor may administer a few common tests:
But the only way to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis is a biopsy.
Doctors classify mesothelioma into four different stages. The lowest stage, stage 1, means the cancer is still in one area. As the stage number increases, the cancer has spread further from where it started. At stage 4, the most advanced stage, the cancer has spread to other tissues in distant parts of the body.
As the stages progress, symptoms may change or get worse. A higher stage also means the prognosis is usually worse.
Mesothelioma has a poor prognosis with patients living on average 18–31 months with treatment. But, individual factors play into each patient’s prognosis, such as:
Fortunately, recent research has introduced new treatments that may improve some patients’ survival – including patients with later-stage mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Treatment Options
Patients with mesothelioma have treatment options available. A team of doctors will develop a treatment plan for the patient’s specific case.
A mesothelioma treatment plan may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation or surgery. Some treatment plans use a combination of two or more of these therapies. Treatment approach depends on many factors, including cancer stage and location.
Standard and new treatments in clinical trials may help patients extend survival.
Legal Options for Mesothelioma Patients and Loved Ones
There is no doubt that a mesothelioma diagnosis can be overwhelming. You may worry about many things, including handling treatment costs. But, there may be help available.
You and your loved ones may be eligible for financial compensation. This compensation can help cover treatment costs and provide financial security. Experienced mesothelioma lawyers can handle the entire legal process, like filing a claim or lawsuit. So you can focus on your care and time with loved ones.