Individuals who were exposed to asbestos either at work or by second-hand exposure often have many questions about whether they may be at risk for developing mesothelioma, a deadly and incurable lung disease linked to asbestos. While the dangers of asbestos have been known for many decades, the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma can take an equally long time to manifest themselves, which can make the disease difficult to understand.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer that affects a thin line of tissue surrounding the body’s internal organs, most often the lungs and abdomen. Although the overwhelming majority of people exposed to asbestos will not develop mesothelioma, about 2,000 to 3,000 are diagnosed every year with the aggressive cancer.
While each case is different, most individuals exposed to asbestos that eventually develop mesothelioma will not do so for anywhere from 20 to 50 years. During that time, other health conditions with similar symptoms can mask the signs of mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos and delay diagnosis and treatment.
What are the Signs of Mesothelioma?
There are four types of mesothelioma: pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma and testicular mesothelioma. Mesothelioma symptoms vary depending on the form of the disease but lumps in the affected areas are a shared symptom.
- Pleural mesothelioma – This type affects a thin lining of tissue around the lungs. Symptoms often include shortness of breath, painful coughing, chest pains, and weight loss.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma – Tissues lining the abdominal wall are affected by this type of mesothelioma. The signs of peritoneal mesothelioma include abdominal pain, swelling of the abdomen, and weight loss.
- Pericardial mesothelioma – This type affects the thin lining around the heart known as the pericardium. Pericardial mesothelioma often does not have any symptoms in the initial stages of the cancer. Symptoms of this rare cancer include chest pains, murmurs, heart palpitations, difficulty and shortness of breath, painful coughing and night sweats.
Doctors will use a variety of different methods to diagnose whether or not someone has developed mesothelioma. Often times, it begins with an x-ray or CT scan to look for signs of fluid buildup around the lungs, abdomen, heart, or testicles (in cases involving men). If a doctor suspects a patient may have mesothelioma, a biopsy is usually ordered to extract tissue and conduct further tests.
How Long Do I Have to File a Mesothelioma Claim?
Fortunately for victims of asbestos exposure who developed mesothelioma, the law gives them and their families legal recourse to hold wrongdoers accountable and seek compensation for the harm they have suffered. It is extremely important to note there are time deadlines to filing these types of claims and if they are not met, victims may be barred from filing mesothelioma asbestos lawsuits.
The amount of time to file a claim varies by state and starts when the victims discovers he or she has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Victims of asbestos exposure should contact an experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorney to find out exactly what their legal options are.
Nationwide Asbestos Lawyers
For more information about your legal rights, contact our office. The nationwide asbestos lawyers of the Throneberry Law Group understand the difficulty of dealing with asbestos-related diseases and look forward to discussing how we can help. Strict time deadlines apply so please contact us at your earliest convenience.