For those who have spent their lives working around asbestos, mesothelioma is not something to be ignored. Many people are unaware that such a disease even exists, but victims are becoming less and less rare as the years go by.
Mesothelioma is an incurable form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. When microscopic asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed, they can become trapped within the linings and cavities of the respiratory system and other areas of the body. If the fibers are able to penetrate and damage these areas, irregular cell division can develop into malignant tumors.
The symptoms of this progression can go unseen by doctors for decades. It is quite common that those with mesothelioma are senior citizens before they are diagnosed with the disease -- much older than they were at the time of exposure.
The type of mesothelioma that eventually develops depends on the location where the fibers get caught within the body:
Inhaled asbestos fibers most commonly penetrate the mesothelium, a membrane that lines the pleural cavity where your lungs are. Cancer cells develop in the pleura and cause serious respiratory problems which are almost always fatal.
Swallowed asbestos fibers are able to penetrate the lining of the stomach or abdomen, causing peritoneal mesothelioma cancer.
Sometimes, mesothelioma cancer develops in the membranes surrounding the heart -- the pericardium. This is a less common form of mesothelioma but one equally as life-threatening as any other.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you are encouraged to act fast. There are treatment plans available to prolong your life and comfort levels, as well as the possibility for compensation for you and your family. Finding an experienced mesothelioma attorney to work with you after diagnosis is an excellent first step.