Mesothelioma is a deadly, highly-aggressive form of cancer that is commonly caused by exposure to a substance called asbestos. Asbestos was used in building and construction for decades, before it became apparent that the toxic substance was causing serious, life-threatening health problems. Unfortunately, mesothelioma symptoms often take years – sometimes even decades – to appear, and the disease is often mistaken for more common, less-serious ailments until it’s too late.
How Does Mesothelioma Develop?
Pleural mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers are inhaled into the lungs over a period of time. Fibers become trapped in the pleura, the lining of the lungs, resulting in irritation and inflammation. The inflammation subsequently causes the pleural layers to thicken and a buildup of fluid to occur around the lungs. As such, the lungs cannot fully expand, and the patient may experience chest pain and trouble breathing. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to move forward if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma.
As stated above, symptoms of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestosis, may take years to appear. Therefore, if you are concerned about past exposure to this substance, it may be in your best interest to consult with your healthcare provider about your risk. Blood tests and X-rays may indicate a problem before symptoms appear. Additionally, if you notice any of the following symptoms, contact your physician immediately:
- Dry cough
- Respiratory problems (wheezing, shortness of breath)
- Pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs)
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Fever or night sweats
- Muscle weakness
- Body aches
What are the Most Common Precursors to a Mesothelioma Diagnosis?
A 2011 study of 221 mesothelioma patients revealed that the disease was discovered in the following ways:
- 30 percent experienced weight loss
- 36 percent developed a chronic cough
- 64 percent suffered chest pain
- 79 percent experienced shortness of breath
- 90 percent developed pleural effusions
Misdiagnosis can delay mesothelioma treatment until it’s too late. Physicians may mistake this deadly disease for less-serious conditions, such as COPD, pneumonia, influenza, asthma, and bronchial infection. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to recover damages if you are suffering from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease. Continue reading