What is mesothelioma and how did I get it?

If you or a loved one was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, Morgan and Morgan Law Firm is ready to provide support to you and your family. We understand that your health is the number one priority right now. If you need help getting access to life-extending medical procedures and pain relief, we can help.

Being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease is a shock, and we know you're searching for answers and guidance. While you and your family look after your health, Morgan and Morgan can work on recovering compensation that will help pay for medical treatment and shore up your family's financial future. To address "what is mesothelioma, and how did I get it," we'll go over some of the most common causes.

Mesothelioma Overview

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that grows in the thin layer of tissue that covers a large portion of your internal organs called the mesothelium. Physicians categorize the different types based on the area of the body that is affected. The most common form is pleural mesothelioma, which impacts the tissue around the lungs. Another form is peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the abdominal area. Rarer forms can impact areas around the heart and testicles. This cancer is aggressive, and although there are treatments, it is often uncurable.

How Do People Develop Mesothelioma?

The number one reason people develop mesothelioma is through asbestos exposure. Up to 80% of mesothelioma diagnoses are attributed to asbestos exposure, including people who live with someone who works with asbestos and may transfer the mineral into the home via clothing and skin.

A lesser degree of mesothelioma victims may have been exposed to radioactive thorium dioxide used between the 1920s and 1950s to diagnose health conditions through X-rays. A family history of mesothelioma could cause an increased risk of developing the disease.

How and Where Are People Exposed to Asbestos?

The vast majority of people that have developed mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Those particularly vulnerable work in shipbuilding, factories, construction, mining, and manufacturing. Mechanics and veterans have a high degree of exposure risk. Individuals can come into contact with asbestos fibers if they drill, sand, hammer, or deconstruct asbestos-containing materials. If asbestos-containing materials degrade, the fibers can be released into the air when disturbed.

Asbestos was considered a valuable mineral for centuries because the fibers are resistant to fire. However, when large deposits of asbestos were discovered in Canada and the United States in the late 19th century, the fibers began to be used in earnest in construction materials. Asbestos use wasn't limited to the construction industry. It made its way into everything from fire-resistance clothing to insulation and even hot pads that you would use in your kitchen.

In the 1970s, incontrovertible proof began to expose the deadly link between asbestos exposure and serious adverse health effects. Yet, asbestos manufacturers had known asbestos fibers were likely dangerous for many years and did nothing. Substitutes slowly replaced the material, and regulations were implemented. Still, there are some industries where asbestos could not be replaced and is still used to this today, particularly in the automotive industry.

Why Does Asbestos Exposure Cause Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma takes a very long time to develop. Most people aren't diagnosed until 15 to 50 years after asbestos exposure. Not everyone who is exposed to asbestos will develop this cancer, those that do result from a cellular reaction to asbestos fibers. The tissue becomes inflamed, which leads to scarring on the mesothelium. The scar tissue is where malignant tumors start to grow. Mesothelioma that forms around the lungs is the result of fiber inhalation. Tumors that grow in the abdomen result from swallowing asbestos, and mesothelioma that develops around the heart results from fibers traveling through the bloodstream.

When individuals are exposed to asbestos at a young age, and for a prolonged amount of time, the risk of developing mesothelioma is increased. Even if people are removed from areas where asbestos exists, the danger does not go down over time. It appears the threat is lifelong and increases with age. Young people that are exposed to asbestos can develop mesothelioma, but the majority of diagnoses occur after the age of 45. However, some people exposed to a significant amount of asbestos never develop the disease.

Men are more likely to develop mesothelioma than women, but this is likely due to the kinds of jobs men work versus women, such as railroad and automotive labor.

How Can Morgan and Morgan Help With My Mesothelioma Claim?

Our mesothelioma lawyers can help you get compensation through a personal injury or a wrongful death claim. Compensation for mesothelioma can come through a settlement or trial verdict. The amount of payment you may be entitled to will vary on the type of claim and other factors. When asbestos companies started to get sued for mesothelioma diagnoses, they went bankrupt. The courts stepped in to create trust funds to ensure that future victims would have a chance to collect compensation due to these companies' negligent actions.

We will work with you to procure the evidence needed for a successful claim, such as:

  • Documents that establish when you were exposed to asbestos
  • Where exposure to asbestos took place
  • Medical records confirming your asbestos-related diagnosis
  • Documentation concerning involvement with specific asbestos-containing products or components

Our lawyers will advise whether you will be better served filing for a trust fund claim or suing the business that is responsible for your asbestos exposure. However, time is critical in an asbestos claim. While mesothelioma may take decades to develop, you have limited time to submit a claim after a diagnosis. Every state and trust fund has its own set of rules and laws.

A mesothelioma diagnosis can be devastating. If you're asking the question, "what is mesothelioma, and how did I get it," the compassionate and caring lawyers at Morgan and Morgan are ready to help. You and your family deserve to be compensated for the reprehensible negligence of asbestos companies. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.