Mesothelioma is a cancer of the tissue that lines the outer lung, heart, or abdominal cavity (called the “mesothelium”) and is almost exclusively caused by asbestos fibers. But while nearly unique to asbestos fiber intake (breathed or swallowed), mesothelioma is not the only injury asbestos fibers can cause. Exposure to asbestos fibers may create tumors in the lungs and other internal organs, asbestosis (scarring of lung tissue), and cancer of the larynx, esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Most people affected by asbestos-related injury were exposed at work, often unknowingly.
Mesothelioma injuries are not always apparent, and some symptoms can take decades to appear after exposure to asbestos. Some symptoms of lung injury caused by asbestos are:
- Chest pain
- Fluid surrounding the lung
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing, hoarseness, or persistent cough
- Blood coughed up
If the mesothelioma cancer spreads, injured individuals may experience weight loss and stomach pain. Bowel obstructions, anemia, and fever may be signs of internal organ damage from asbestos exposure, and trouble swallowing, swollen throat, and facial pain can be symptoms that lung mesothelioma’s cancer has spread.
In more severe cases, a person suffering asbestos injury can demonstrate any of the following symptoms:
- Blood clots
- Internal bleeding
- Low blood sugar
- Chest pain
- Severe swelling of the midsection
These symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions that may or may not be asbestos-related.Incidence and Treatment of Mesothelioma
While reports of mesothelioma have increased since the late 1970s, asbestos remains a rare cancer with an average of only one in a million Americans affected. Men are more likely than women and older than younger to develop mesothelioma, which corresponds with the population that works with asbestos and the time delay between exposure and development of asbestos-caused cancer. Though the lung version of mesothelioma (pleural mesothelioma) tends to be the most known, 20%-30% of all mesotheliomas are abdominal (peritoneal mesothelioma).
Mesothelioma diagnosis typically includes a preliminary physical examination, including x-rays of the chest or abdomen and lung function tests. If cancer could be likely, a biopsy will be conducted to confirm mesothelioma. Where this possible cancer is located will define the means of collecting sample tissue for the biopsy. If a mesothelioma diagnosis is confirmed, doctors will need to learn the extent of the disease, whether localized or if it has spread beyond its originating cancerous membrane.
Treatment of malignant mesothelioma is typically radiation and/or chemotherapy, can roughly three-quarters of the time extends the injured patient’s lifespan by five years or more. Surgery is common but rarely successful in causing long-term remission. The removal of a lung to stop the spread in pleural mesothelioma is called pneumonectomy. To relieve pain, fluids accumulated in the chest or abdomen might be drained.Contact a Nashville Asbestos Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one in Tennessee, Georgia, or Kentucky have developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related injury, we encourage you to contact our Nashville, TN law offices. Our injury attorneys have decades of legal experience working throughout Tennessee and neighboring states and have a reputation for fair, quick resolutions to injury claims. Call our toll free number 800.705.2121 or complete our asbestos injury form for a free consultation.
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