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What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is asbestos-related cancer that forms on the protective tissues on the lungs, abdomen, and heart. Though the tumors can be benign, malignant mesothelioma can be life-threatening.

This form of cancer develops when a person ingests asbestos, the cause of all cases. Once the asbestos fibers become lodged in the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen, they damage the mesothelial cells and cause inflammation in the affected area. Over time, tumors will begin to form.

What are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

The primary symptoms of this cancer include coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Other common symptoms include:

  • Dry cough
  • Respiratory complications
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Abdomen pain
  • Fluid around the lungs
  • Muscle weakness

Symptoms of this disease usually do not show until the tumors have developed and spread throughout the body. It can take anywhere from 20-50 years after asbestos exposure for mesothelioma to fully develop and reveal itself. Due to this latency, many mesothelioma patients tend to be in their 60s or 70s.

If you or a loved one was unknowingly exposed to asbestos and is suffering from mesothelioma in Pittsburgh, PA, reach out to D’Amico Law Offices. Our lawyers will help you organize all the documents for your case to prove your exposure in the workplace.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that grows in the mesothelium, a thin tissue that lines most of the body’s organs. Most cases of mesothelioma result from workplace exposure to asbestos. This disease spreads aggressively and does not have a cure.

The Risk for Mesothelioma

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Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in the earth and used in the construction industry because of its strong fibers. For example, it is often a component of flooring, roofing, and insulation. The dust created when asbestos is disrupted may be swallowed or inhaled by those who are exposed. Over time, these dust particles create cell changes that cause mesothelioma. This process occurs very slowly. Many people who have mesothelioma are not diagnosed for two to six decades after exposure, according to mesotheliomahelp.org.

Not everyone who comes into contact with asbestos gets mesothelioma. If you have lived with someone who worked with asbestos, you may also be at risk. Risk is also higher for those with a family history of this cancer and those who have had chest radiotherapy to treat previous cancer.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma

The Mesothelioma Center reports that signs of this type of cancer vary depending on the affected organs. Pleural mesothelioma, which grows in the lung tissue, causes coughing, pain while coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and skin lumps on the chest. Peritoneal mesothelioma, affecting the abdomen, causes abdominal pain and swelling as well as nausea. Both types of mesothelioma result in unexplained weight loss. Though mesothelioma can affect other organs, such as the heart and testicles, these cases are quite rare.

Treating Mesothelioma

While no cure exists for this cancer, treatments can help reduce complications and discomfort. Without treatment, a person who has mesothelioma will have trouble breathing and swallowing, increased pain, and fluid accumulation in the chest cavity.

Treatment options depend on how much the cancer has spread as well as the person’s individual health goals. Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the affected tissue and built-up fluid, which can make it easier to breathe and reduce the pain associated with mesothelioma. For some patients, chemotherapy or radiation to kill the cancer cells may be appropriate, along with newer treatment modalities such as immunotherapy.

Were you exposed to asbestos while employed in construction, shipbuilding, steel, or another industry? You may be eligible for legal damages if your employer acted negligently and risked worker safety. D’Amico Law Offices, LLC assists clients in Pittsburgh with personal injury cases, including mesothelioma lawsuits. Call (412) 652-9300 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.