Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops after a person is exposed to asbestos. There is no cure for mesothelioma. The good news, however, is that there are several treatment options available for mesothelioma patients. But, to have a good chance of fighting the disease, mesothelioma patients need to be diagnosed early before the disease has reached its later stages. Treating mesothelioma when it has reached its later stages is usually difficult. Unfortunately, most people who receive a mesothelioma diagnosis will also be told their prognosis is not good. Many people are getting diagnosed with mesothelioma when the disease has reached its later stages.
So, what makes it hard to diagnose mesothelioma? The following are five reasons why diagnosing mesothelioma is difficult.
People Assume Asbestos is Banned
Asbestos may be banned in other nations, but it remains legal in the United States. In other words, asbestos is still a threat in the U.S. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe that asbestos is no longer a threat in the U.S. because it was banned. For this reason, many people fail to take the necessary steps when they develop symptoms.
People Do Not Realize They Were Exposed to Asbestos
To many, a typical mesothelioma victim is a person who used to work a job that exposed them to asbestos. So, if a person who used to work with asbestos-contaminated products develops symptoms, a doctor might look in the right direction. On the other hand, a doctor dealing with a patient who has never worked directly with asbestos-contaminated products might not look in the right direction, even if the patient has mesothelioma-like symptoms. If a doctor knows that a patient has never worked directly with asbestos-containing products, they might test for other diseases and leave out testing for mesothelioma.
It is crucial for doctors and patients to understand and consider secondhand asbestos exposure. Secondary asbestos exposure occurs when someone who works directly with asbestos-containing products takes asbestos fibers home on their person, shoes, or clothes. When a person takes asbestos fibers home, it puts everyone in that home at risk of suffering exposure.
Mesothelioma Has a Long Latency Period
Mesothelioma does not develop soon after asbestos exposure. After asbestos exposure occurs, mesothelioma can take up to 50 years to develop. The long time it takes for mesothelioma to develop can make diagnosing the disease difficult. During a meeting with a doctor, it can be hard for a patient to think of telling the doctor about potential asbestos exposure that happened decades ago.
It Can Be Hard to Recognize Mesothelioma Symptoms
Some of the common symptoms of mesothelioma include;
- Painful coughing
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss
Such symptoms can be confused with symptoms of another disease. For example, a person with a fever and cough might think they have the flu.
Many Doctors Have Not Diagnosed Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, which means that not many doctors have diagnosed it. This can lead to misdiagnosis.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment.