Mesothelioma, also known as asbestos cancer, is cancer of the mesothelium, and is usually found on or around the lungs an individual has had prolonged exposure to asbestos in their homes or at work. Although the disease has become easier to detect in recent years, asbestos manufacturers have actually been sued by victims who have contracted the disease since as early as the 1920s and there is evidence that people were getting sick as early as the end of the 19th century.
Despite this long history, and high profile cases that have gone as far as the Supreme Court with nearly a billion dollars in compensation paid out, no Federal laws have been passed to delineate the compensation available to victims. The sad reality is that many suffering patients end up not getting the compensation they truly deserve due to the lack of regulation and confusion over what victims are entitled. This would seem to be an obvious case of injustice and is an unfortunate reality as working men and women simply cannot afford to aggressively pursue legal action against corporations, especially those that may have closed decades before.
The link between meso and asbestos was officially proven in the 1960s when scientists confirmed the presence of the disease in over 30 people who had been exposed to asbestos in South Africa. In 1962 mine workers were discovered who had mesothelioma and the condition was proven to cause cancer. Once workers are diagnosed with mesothelioma they can no longer work. This is just one reason why they must be properly compensated by their employers for their lost wages. Employers my be hesitant to pay damages; the reality is they could have provided the proper protective equipment to their workers that would have allowed them to work safely with asbestos and remain disease free. The question then significant to many is how you can tell if a person has contracted mesothelioma?
There are several symptoms that should be seen as a red flag (these symptoms are very similar to those for other conditions, including lung cancer). Keep in mind that these symptoms may not surface for years after asbestos exposure:
1. Shortness of breath – from fluid caught between the lungs and chest wall.
2. Chest pains – also caused by fluid. The pain will be felt under the rib cage and may be accompanied by coughing.
3. Weight loss.
4. Abdominal pain or swelling resulted from fluid building up in the abdomen.
5. Bowel obstruction caused by either fluid or tumors that have formed in the abdominal region.
6. Anemia – due to mesotheliomas affect on the tissue lining the lungs and chest cavity (the pleura).
7. Blood clotting – although this is only seen in severe cases.
8. Trouble swallowing – that occurs if the cancer has metastasized from the mesothelioma to other parts of the body.
9. Swelling in the neck or face – this also occurs if the cancer has spread.
If you are at risk for mesothelioma because you have worked with asbestos in the recent or distant past, and you experience any of these symptoms, it is vital that you contact your doctor right away for treatment. With good legal assistance, those struck with mesothelioma can get the compensation they need and deserve. After all, people who have been injured because of the negligence of their employers deserve some sort of financial support from the legal system. If you are diagnosed you may also benefit from legal assistance. Please feel free to contact us and an attorney experienced in mesothelioma litigation will be happy to talk to you about your case.