Most people have heard of asbestos, but not all are familiar with the risks involved with this toxic material. Some only learn of mesothelioma when they have a personal reason to do so, such as a doctor diagnosing their disease or having a friend or loved one dealing with it. Many questions will run through their heads. Here are some of the most common:
- What is mesothelioma? A rare and extremely deadly form of cancer, mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers over time. It causes cancerous cells to form in tissue around covers the lungs, chest wall or abdomen.
- Who is at risk? Certain types of workers, such as mechanics, electricians and plumbers, are at risk for asbestos exposure. Family members of these workers also are at risk. Individuals may have been exposed to asbestos working in places such as:
- Power plants
- Oil refineries
3. When do symptoms appear? It can take 20 years for the cancer to form after exposure. Shortness of breath and pain under the rib cage are common symptoms, but it can be difficult to diagnose. Most individuals with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s or 1980s.
4. What is the prognosis? The prognosis depends on many individual factors, including age and gender. About 40 percent of patients with mesothelioma survive one first year after a diagnosis. Older mesothelioma patients have a much lower survival rate.
5. What can I do? There are limited treatment options available. Individuals and families should seek a variety of opinions on how best to proceed and cope with the disease.
You may also have cause for a legal claim due to asbestos exposure. Acting quickly to seek the advice of an experienced mesothelioma attorney could mean you are entitled to compensation for your suffering.
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