Mesothelioma is a very rare, very aggressive form of cancer. While it affects only a few thousand people each year, its effects are often devastating. Chances of survivability are very low, the signs and symptoms are difficult to spot, and usually take decades to manifest.
Possibly the most distressing aspect of mesothelioma is that it is often incurable. Treatments are available, but due to the disease’s rarity, modern medicine has had few chances to study it on an in-depth level. If these symptoms and circumstances are familiar to you, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Causes and signs of mesothelioma
According to the Mayo Clinic, exposure to asbestos dramatically increases your chance of developing this cancer. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they might come to rest in the lungs and stomach. Over the course of decades the fibers can lead to mesothelioma. While asbestos is rarely seen today, it was once widely used for its heat resistance properties, including as insulation, in brakes and in shingles.
Symptoms of mesothelioma vary, but they commonly include:
- Chest pain under ribs
- Abdomen pain or swelling
- Painful coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Strange lumps beneath the skin on the chest or abdomen
- Sudden weight loss
Speak to your doctor if you were exposed to asbestos years ago and are suddenly experiencing these symptoms.
One of the greatest difficulties of diagnosing mesothelioma is the fact that it takes so long to develop. Those afflicted often forget that they were exposed to the dangerous fibers in the first place. Consider the following when you think back on when you may have possibly been exposed to asbestos:
- Personal asbestos exposure – Did you grow up in an older building that used asbestos for insulation, or could you have been exposed to it in your line of work?
- Proximity to person who worked with asbestos – Did a family member work around asbestos? They may have carried the fibers home on their skin and clothing.
- Genetic disposition – Did any of your family members suffer from mesothelioma? If so, you may be more genetically predisposed to the disease.
It never hurts to speak to a doctor for a screening if you suspect you may be at risk. Doctors are still learning how asbestos causes mesothelioma, but new research could lead to earlier diagnoses and more lives saved.
Take action against this disease
If you have been afflicted by this rare and devastating disease, don’t sit idly by. You may be entitled to a large settlement to help you cover medical bills and help your family in the event of the unthinkable. Contact an attorney experienced in handling mesothelioma cases and learn your options.
If you suddenly experience pain under your ribs, have painful coughing fits, find strange lumps beneath the skin on your abdomen or any of the other symptoms listed, see your doctor right away. Mesothelioma is aggressive, but you don’t need to face it alone.