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Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is frequently related to exposure to asbestos. There are laws in place to protect people from asbestos exposure and prevent businesses from using asbestos in many settings.
Unfortunately, not all companies follow the proper guidelines, and because asbestos was used so frequently in years past, it is still present in many places today. A mesothelioma lawyer helps people understand and assert their rights and recover compensation for developing cancer because of asbestos exposure.
Flint Cooper fights for people who were wronged because of the actions of others. We take pride in our proactive and aggressive approach to advocating for people who suffer through no fault of their own. Our trial attorneys are compassionate but fierce fighters with years of experience representing victims of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.
- What is mesothelioma?
- How does asbestos cause cancer?
- What are common mesothelioma symptoms?
- How do I know the cause of my mesothelioma?
- What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Mesothelioma?
- Biological Risk Factors
- Occupational Risk Factors
- Secondhand Exposure
- Should I file a mesothelioma lawsuit?
- What is the average mesothelioma settlement?
What is Mesothelioma?
As the Mayo Clinic explains, mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, the thin lining surrounding most of your internal organs. Mesothelioma is a particularly deadly type of cancer that develops slowly, but once it does, it can have a devastating impact on your ability to function. Identifying and treating mesothelioma quickly and effectively is essential to increase a patient’s chances of surviving.
There are multiple types of mesothelioma. The most common type is called pleural mesothelioma and affects the tissue surrounding the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma is rare and affects the abdomen, heart, or testicles.
Like with any cancer, the underlying cause of mesothelioma is the mutation of your DNA that causes a tumor to develop rather than normal, healthy cells. There are many possible causes of mesothelioma, but researchers are still working to discover the root cause. That said, doctors have identified risk factors that increase someone’s chance of developing mesothelioma. The number one risk factor is exposure to asbestos.
How Does Asbestos Cause Cancer?
Asbestos exposure is the primary risk factor for mesothelioma. One way that asbestos leads to cancer is the tiny asbestos particles enter the lungs and become trapped. Over time, the particles injure the body, causing the cells to mutate and become cancerous.
People can also ingest asbestos by eating contaminated food, such as at a construction site or building that has asbestos particles in the air. People can interact with asbestos through the contaminated clothing of workers or others who came into contact with the compound. Because of the widespread risks and the ease with which it can spread to others, asbestos can be particularly difficult for people to trace and detect unless they are looking for it.
What Are Common Mesothelioma Symptoms?
The symptoms of mesothelioma are often similar to those associated with other conditions, making it challenging to identify. In many cases, people do not know they have mesothelioma until the cancer advances to a later stage. Here are some of the symptoms experienced by people with mesothelioma, according to the American Lung Association:
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chest pain
- Lower back pain
- Dry and persistent cough
- Difficulty swallowing
- Abdominal swelling
- Blockage in the small intestine
How Do I Know the Cause of My Mesothelioma?
Discovering the cause of your mesothelioma can be quite difficult, especially for the untrained eye. In many cases, people with this rare cancer do not even know that they were exposed to asbestos, creating a challenging path for them to discover the source. Further complicating the matter, asbestos often takes years or even decades to affect someone and cause mesothelioma. With such a great distance between the cause (asbestos exposure) and the effect (mesothelioma), it can be quite challenging to connect the two without trained help.
Discovering the cause of your mesothelioma may require calling on a knowledgeable and experienced legal team to help you uncover evidence. At Flint Cooper, we understand that finding the cause of your mesothelioma can give you peace of mind and clarity. If you know where your mesothelioma came from, you might be better able to come to terms with your illness and begin to better understand and evaluate your legal options. Our team leverages our expansive resources to help people search for the cause of their cancer and to hold responsible parties accountable. No one should have to suffer or watch someone they love suffer the debilitating effects of mesothelioma.
What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Mesothelioma?
While exposure to asbestos is the primary factor in the development of mesothelioma, it is not the only risk factor that exists. There are a number of other risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing this particular disease, such as biological, occupational or secondhand risk factors.
Biological Risk Factors
Gender plays a role in the risk of developing mesothelioma, as men are at greater risk of being diagnosed with the disease. This can be attributed to men having a higher likeliness of occupational exposure to asbestos. While women may have also been at risk of occupational exposure, it is more likely that they have been exposed to asbestos through the use of talcum powder.
Age is another contributing factor, as mesothelioma typically takes 20-to-60 years to develop after asbestos exposure. This does not mean, however, that young people are not at risk of developing mesothelioma.
Those who have a family history of mesothelioma are also at greater risk of developing the disease. BAP1, which is a genetic mutation found in the cancer cells of the majority of mesothelioma patients, is a mutation that can either be inherited from a parent, or developed during the course of one’s lifetime. Those who have this genetic mutation are at a greater risk of mesothelioma.
Occupational Risk Factors
Certain occupations can significantly elevate the risk of asbestos exposure and subsequent mesothelioma diagnosis. While the use of new products containing asbestos was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1989, asbestos still poses a health risk to individuals employed in industries where products containing asbestos were common. The following are examples of high-risk industries:
Automotive workers were frequently exposed to asbestos through the widespread use of sheet gaskets, aftermarket brakes and lining, brake blocks, vehicle friction products and many other asbestos containing products. The risk of asbestos exposure still exists today, as asbestos fibers could become airborne during the replacement or repair of these products. Read More…
Boilermakers frequently handled asbestos containing products, as asbestos insulation was a standard material in boiler-making. The risk of asbestos exposure still exists today, as asbestos fibers could become airborne during the assembly, repair or maintenance of this equipment. Read More…
Construction workers, including carpenters, plumbers, electricians and insulation installers often worked with asbestos containing products. The risk of encountering asbestos containing products in these occupations still exists today, as asbestos fibers could become airborne during the demolition or repair of these products. Read More…
Shipyard workers were frequently exposed to asbestos due to its extensive use in shipbuilding, particularly in the form of insulation and fireproofing. The risk of asbestos exposure still exists today, as older ships and shipyards could still contain asbestos. Read More…
While these industries pose a significant risk of asbestos exposure, it is important to recognize that there are many other industries in which workers may have been exposed to asbestos.
Additionally, secondhand exposure is a potential health risk to family members and loved ones of workers exposed to asbestos. When clothing or other items exposed to asbestos are brought into the home, every individual in the home is potentially at risk of inhaling airborne asbestos fibers.
With the use of new products containing asbestos being banned in 1989, the chance of secondhand exposure has decreased significantly in recent years, but because mesothelioma may take decades to develop, past exposure is still a concern.
Should I File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Mesothelioma can be a costly and debilitating cancer. While nothing can turn back the hands of time, filing a lawsuit can help people living with cancer and their families recover the compensation they need to rebuild their lives and get the necessary treatment. Filing a lawsuit can also help prevent unsafe practices and protect potential victims from encountering the same harm.
Flint Cooper can review your case and advise whether filing a lawsuit may be in your best interest. We understand the challenges that mesothelioma patients and their loved ones face, and we can help them overcome these challenges by pursuing legal compensation.
What is the Average Mesothelioma Settlement?
Mesothelioma settlements vary greatly, depending on the applicable law, the surrounding circumstances, and other elements. Factors that can impact the damages award include the following:
- The chance that the mesothelioma victim will fully recover
- The treatment or surgery needed to treat the disease
- The conduct of the defendant that led to the plaintiff’s asbestos exposure
Individuals who suffer from mesothelioma may file an action on their behalf (or have their attorney do so). Surviving loved ones may also pursue mesothelioma wrongful death settlements to hold the at-fault parties accountable for deaths that result from wrongful behavior. A mesothelioma lawyer can help people understand and meet the applicable deadlines and burden of proof.
Flint Cooper applies its knowledge and experience to win trials, not just collect settlements, further strengthening its reputation of providing clients around the world with exceptional counsel and unparalleled advocacy.