I've Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
George & Farinas is a compassionate, experienced law firm of fierce advocates dedicated to protecting workers rights and dignity of those diagnosed with mesothelioma. We have decades of experience and a proven track record of helping injured clients and their families obtain recoveries for their losses, whether they were directly exposed to asbestos on the job site, in the military, or indirectly such as by cleaning a loved one's asbestos clothing.
Contact George & Farinas, LLP today to learn more about what we can do on your behalf to protect your rights.
What is Mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of cells lining the body's internal organs, known as the mesothelium.
There are three recognized types of mesothelioma:
- Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease, accounting for roughly seventy percent (70%) of cases, and occurs in the lining of the lung known as the pleura.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity, known as the peritoneum.
- Pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, which lines the heart.
Main Risk Factor for Mesothelioma: Asbestos
Working with asbestos is the main risk factor for mesothelioma. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which was widely used in the manufacture of many products beginning in the late 1800s.
Asbestos became increasingly popular with manufacturers and builders in at that time because of its absorption, strength, resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage, and affordability. The heaviest uses of, and exposures to, asbestos occurred between 1940 and 1980, in occupations such as construction, power plants, shipyards, railroads, insulation, sheet metal, automobile repair, and other related fields.
Much of that asbestos is still present in buildings constructed before the 1980s, which caused considerable exposure in the 1970s and 1980s during poorly planned removal of products [called "abatement"].
When asbestos fibers are released into the air they may be inhaled by workers and remain in the lungs where they can cause disease. Evidence shows many of the companies which manufactured, distributed or installed asbestos containing products knew as early as the 1930's and 1940's that people would be injured or die from this exposure. Companies conspired to hide this information so these dangerous products would be sold and workers would not be afraid of exposure to the dust.
What is Asbestos
Asbestos was widely used in many industrial products including: insulation, cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, and textiles. At an increased risk of developing mesothelioma are: shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other tradesmen.
When tiny asbestos particles were disturbed in these industries, they would float in the air and be inhaled, swallowed, or left on the hair, skin or clothes. In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis, and other cancers, such as those of the colon and bladder and kidney.
Symptoms & Treatment
Symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on where the cancer occurs.
Typically for a pleural mesothelioma, where the cancer affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs, signs and symptoms may include:
- Chest pain under the rib cage
- Painful coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest
- Unexplained weight loss
For a peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in the abdomen, signs and symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Lumps of tissue in the abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
For a pericardial mesothelioma, which affects tissue that surrounds the heart, signs and symptoms include breathing difficulty and chest pain.
Diagnosis and Biopsy
If you or a doctor suspect that your symptoms are signs of mesothelioma, your doctor will check for lumps or other usual signs. He may order an X-ray and a CT scan of your abdomen to check for abnormalities. If abnormalities are discovered, the next step is a biopsy. A biopsy is the only way to determine with certainty whether or not you have mesothelioma. In a biopsy, doctors will remove a small portion of tissue from the area suspected of disease, and examine it in a lab.
Biopsy options include:
- Fine-needle aspiration. The doctor inserts a small needle into your chest or abdomen and extracts fluid or a piece of tissue.
- Thoracoscopy. In a thoracoscopy, a surgeon will make a small incision between your ribs and send a tube with a small video camera into your chest cavity. This procedure is sometimes called video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). The surgeon is then able to cut away a portion of tissue for further testing.
- Laparoscopy. The surgeon inserts a small camera into an incision in the abdomen and removes a small piece of tissue.
- Thoracotomy. A surgeon will open the chest between the ribs to look for signs of disease.
- Laparotomy. A surgeon will open the abdomen to look for signs of disease.
Unfortunately, for most people mesothelioma is not curable. It is an aggressive disease and is usually diagnosed after it is too late to remove the cancer surgically. However, the doctors can provide treatments to make you more comfortable as you struggle with the disease. The type of treatment that will be chosen for you will depend on the stage and location of your cancer, and your age and health.
If you or a loved one were told you suffer from Mesothelioma, we are here to provide information, advice and assistance. Contact our Indiana mesothelioma attorneys today or call us at (855) 641-7406. We offer a FREE, NO HASSLE initial consultation.