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.
Talk to Your Doctor
Early detection saves lives. Unfortunately, mesothelioma symptoms can take decades to appear. However, with the current medical knowledge of this disease, your doctor should be able to assess your risk of mesothelioma with relative ease. If you worked in construction or building before asbestos was all-but-banned in the industry, your risk of an asbestos-related disease is significantly higher than for the rest of the population. If you are also experiencing early symptoms, such as shortness of breath or a dull ache in the chest, your doctor may wish to conduct blood tests or X-rays. If it is determined that you have early-stage mesothelioma, multiple treatment options exist. These treatment options become significantly less effective as the disease progresses to more advanced stages.
Symptoms of Advanced Local Invasion
Mesothelioma typically spreads locally, throughout the abdomen or chest, rather than to more distant locations. The following symptoms may indicate that the disease has advanced, invading one of these local areas:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Superior vena cava syndrome (obstruction of blood flow to and from the heart)
- Laryngeal nerve palsy (hoarseness of the throat and voice)
- Hypoglycemia (drop in blood sugar)
- Horner’s syndrome (damage to nerves in the face)
- Complications with nerves in the arms
Altman & Altman, LLP – Mesothelioma Injury Attorneys Serving All of Massachusetts
If you are suffering from mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related complication, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been helping accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. If you have developed mesothelioma due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other associated costs. We have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for our clients and we want to help you. Don’t go through this difficult time alone. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.