Find out about mesothelioma

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Find Out About Mesothelioma
What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma, more precisely malignant mesothelioma, is a rare form of cancer that
develops from the protective lining that covers many of the body's internal organs, the
mesothelium. It is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos and mesothelioma are infamously related. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer
that affects people who have been exposed to asbestos. It is a rare form of cancer, and
affects only those people who have had a history of exposure to asbestos, not others.
However, there can be secondary cases, where a person may come into contact with
someone who has been exposed to asbestos in the past. The key to mesothelioma, as
is apparent here, is exposure to asbestos.

Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall),
but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the heart,
the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart) or tunica vaginalis.

Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled
asbestos particles, or they have been exposed to asbestos dust and fiber in other ways.
It has also been suggested that washing the clothes of a family member who worked
with asbestos can put a person at risk for developing mesothelioma. Unlike lung cancer,
there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking, but smoking greatly
increases the risk of other asbestos-induced cancers. Compensation via asbestos funds
or lawsuits is an important issue in mesothelioma (see asbestos and the law).

Types of Mesothelioma

Primarily, mesothelioma occurs in three areas, based on which mesothelioma is
categorized into:

      Pleural mesothelioma (mesothelioma of the pleura, the outer lining protecting
      the chest cavity as well as the lungs)

      Pericardial mesothelioma (mesothelioma of the pericardium, the sac enclosing
      the heart)

      Peritoneal mesothelioma (mesothelioma of the peritoneum, the lining protecting
      the abdominal cavity)

      Based on the types of cells seen in a mesothelioma patient, mesothelioma can
      again be categorized into 3 types:


        Epithelioid mesothelioma (approximately 50 to 70 percent of all mesothelial cells)

        Sarcomatoid mesothelioma (least common mesothelioma cell type, approximately
        10 to 15 percent)

        Biphasic mesothelioma. (approximately 20 to 40 percent of all mesothelial cells)

Mesothelioma’s Symptoms

Mesothelioma that affects the pleura can cause these signs and symptoms:

  *   Chest wall pain
  *   Pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
  *   Shortness of breath
  *   Fatigue or anemia
  *   Wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
  *   Blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up (hemoptysis)

Tumors that affect the abdominal cavity often do not cause symptoms until they are at
a late stage. Symptoms include:

  *   Abdominal pain
  *   Ascites, or an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen
  *   A mass in the abdomen
  *   Problems with bowel function
  *   Weight loss

In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:

  * Blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
  * Disseminated intravascular coagulation, a disorder causing severe bleeding
    in many body organs
  * Jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
  * Low blood sugar level
  * Pleural effusion
  * Pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
  * Severe ascites
How are Mesothelioma Lawyers so Successful?

One of the basic things in awarding compensation is for the judge or the jury to decide
whether the harm done was intentional, or whether it was the result of a choice the
victim made, in simple terms. In many cases, the circumstance of a victim is a result of
a choice he or she made. For example, in a smoking-related cancer case, the choice to


smoke was made by the victim. However, in the case of mesothelioma, the situation is
different. The circumstance of mesothelioma in the victim could have been averted if
only his employers had been more careful, had made him aware about the risks the job
entailed, and then let him choose, besides providing him whatever protection required
to prevent him from being exposed to asbestos. This is one area that mesothelioma
lawyers and mesothelioma attorneys have been able to successfully work on.

After the initial slew of mesothelioma cases and lawsuits, now laws are firmly in place to
safeguard the health interests of the worker. Besides, in the event of someone actually
suffering from mesothelioma, there are some guidelines towards seeking legal redress
for them as well. Mesothelioma law is strict and helps provide fair verdicts in
mesothelioma-related compensation cases.

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