It has been well-established since at least the 1970’s that asbestos – a naturally-occurring, fibrous mineral most commonly used for decades to fireproof and insulate homes and businesses – is a potentially dangerous material. Medical science is now conclusive that inhaling asbestos particles routinely over a long span of time, or even in isolated incidents, is detrimental to your health. In the worst of cases, asbestos inhalation can cause a cancer to form in the membranes that surround your lungs and abdomen. This cancer is known as mesothelioma, and there is no early detection procedures, reliable treatment or any cure for the disease. 70 to 80 percent of people with mesothelioma got the disease because of exposure to asbestos.
Since asbestos is most commonly found in the insulation of older buildings, construction workers and demolition technicians that worked back when asbestos was the standard material used are at high risk of developing mild to severe mesothelioma. Asbestos wasn’t just used domestically either. It was used in all assortments of military and industrial applications, so a large portion of our older workforce is also at risk. In all, there are about 3,000 cases of mesothelioma reported annually in the United States, but the numbers are reported to be increasing each year as the exposed population gets older. Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma are aged 55 or older. Mesothelioma may not present in patients for 20-50 years after the damaging exposure, so there is no guarantee that a person exposed to asbestos will not eventually develop the disease. Even scarier, medical experts report that one single exposure incident to asbestos can eventually lead to developing mesothelioma.
Symptoms of mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are common and can potentially be caused by dozens of other issues. They include:
- Breathing difficulties, chest pain or a combination of both.
- A general feeling of illness
- Weight loss
- Persistent coughing
- Night sweats.
- Patients might also experience a mass or swelling in their chest cavity or fluid in the lungs.
The best way for a doctor to diagnose mesothelioma is to know if you have been exposed to asbestos either by accident or in the past through work or any other event. They can perform MRIs, take tissue samples and run various tests to confirm if it is indeed mesothelioma. In some cases, invasive surgery is required to observe the membranes before a certain diagnosis is reached.
You have rights, and you are entitled to compensation
Since mesothelioma has been established as a serious medical illness caused by a substance once thought to be benign, there have been many widespread cases of former workers who have been exposed to asbestos filing suits to attempt to receive compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering. If you or somebody you love has been exposed to asbestos through their work, or if your house or business contained asbestos unknowingly to you, you are entitled to claim money if you contract mesothelioma. These cases are not entirely straightforward, though, and the only way to ensure you get the compensation you deserve is to have a team of legal experts advocating for you.
At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over 40 years of experience handling suits involving everything from personal injuries to negligent companies causing harm. There is no telling how much treatment for mesothelioma could cost you and your family, so make sure that you have the right help on your side to ensure that you don’t have to go it alone. There are pools of money available for mesothelioma victims and, in certain cases, more targeted suits may be an option as well. The best way to find out what you can receive and how is to set up a free consultation with a member of our legal team. Call us today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.