Mesothelioma is a term that sounds as sinister as the disease itself. While many people know a little about this deadly condition most people know very little about what causes mesothelioma to develop or how it kills those who get sick from it.
While it is fairly common knowledge that asbestos is a substance that is harmful to the human body and that should be avoided at all costs, more specific and specialized mesothelioma information is something most people are still searching for. This is particularly true for those suffering the effects of mesothelioma or who are having to watch a loved one suffer.
Understanding the Risk of Mesothelioma
Many people have heard the term asbestos and many even know that it is somehow connected to the deadly disease known as mesothelioma. However, the vast majority of people are surprised to learn that asbestos actually is 100% natural and is a mineral that possesses special characteristics that made it perfect for use as insulation.
It is heat and fire-resistant so it was widely used to insulate machine parts, homes, engines, ships and planes, off buildings, and other areas where high heat tolerance and insulation were needed. It was not until the mid to late 1980’s that the dangers of asbestos began to become apparent and the uses of the material began to be phased out.
However, even though asbestos is not used nearly as widely or as often as it once was, people are still getting sick from previous exposure and new exposures can still happen when someone comes into contact with old materials that contain asbestos. Mesothelioma most often occurs in the lining of the lungs, the heart, or the stomach. Over time, the cancer damages the lining of these critical organs and affects them so greatly that they can no longer function properly. With exposure still happening cases of mesothelioma are still being diagnoses and people are still dying from this cancer-like disease.
Workers and Their Families
The thing about mesothelioma that makes it so hard to diagnose and treat and that also makes it so deadly is how long it can lie dormant in the body before manifesting as visible signs that lead to a diagnosis. Some people never have any symptoms at all for 10-20 years or even longer, but as soon as the mesothelioma takes hold it spreads quickly, and often time only a year or so passes between diagnosis and death. Add to that how many industries used asbestos materials on a large scale and how much exposure could have occurred, it is easy to see how many people could still be suffering even decades after the use of asbestos was largely discontinued.
Military personnel who lived on battleships and submarines or who built these vehicles or spent a lot of time in planes, tanks, and other military equipment are at the highest risk for asbestos exposure. Right behind them are individuals who worked in construction and similar industries as well as mechanics and warehouse personnel.
Poor ventilation systems meant that contaminated air got breathed in all day long and also meant the fibers and dust of asbestos got into worker’s clothes and hair. When these workers went home at the end of each day, they brought asbestos home with them and exposed their family members to it day after day as well. Oftentimes workers would become sick first since they had the most direct exposure on the job, but family members also have been known to get sick as well from secondhand exposure. Many have developed mesothelioma years later, even after their loved one died of the disease years previously.
Legal Steps to Take
If you or someone you know was diagnosed with mesothelioma as the result of exposure to asbestos, or you have lost a loved one due to the disease, there are options available. You have rights to compensation and litigation and there are legal steps you can take to help cover your medical expenses and loss of income and the pain of suffering from mesothelioma.
To get the help you need with your mesothelioma case it is important to know all you can about asbestos and mesothelioma. Working with a personal injury attorney in your area who has experience working with asbestos litigation cases is a great way to get started with your case. You owe it to yourself and your family to get the compensation you deserve!