Mesothelioma can be either malignant (cancerous) or benign (not cancerous). Most cases are the dangerous type, so here’s what you need to know about malignant mesothelioma and how it differs from its noncancerous counterpart.
What Is Malignant Mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare but serious cancer that develops in the thin layer of tissue covering the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, or testes. There are four types of malignant mesothelioma categorized by the part of the body in which the cancer develops. There are approximately 3,000 diagnoses of malignant mesothelioma in the U.S. every year, which far exceeds the number of benign cases.
What Causes Malignant Mesothelioma?
There’s only one identified cause of malignant mesothelioma: exposure to asbestos. When a person inhales or swallows asbestos fibers, they become lodged in the mesothelium and cause inflammation over time. Eventually, tumors form and begin to spread. People who worked in construction, mining, roofing, flooring, and other asbestos-reliant industries are at an increased risk for the disease. Scientists have yet to identify the cause of benign mesothelioma.
What Are the Symptoms of Malignant Mesothelioma?
The symptoms of malignant mesothelioma vary depending on the location and stage of the cancer. In the early stages, patients tend to experience symptoms including:
- Dry coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest or abdominal pain
As the disease progresses, patients tend to endure symptoms such as:
- Increased pain
- Severe weight loss
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing
Unfortunately, symptoms don’t tend to appear in the early stages of mesothelioma. If they do, they are often mistaken for those relating to another disease. That’s why mesothelioma is not usually diagnosed until the cancer has spread and treatment options are limited. Interestingly, patients with benign mesothelioma tend to experience many of the same symptoms.
How Is Malignant Mesothelioma Treated?
Malignant mesothelioma is typically treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. However, the stage of the cancer and the health of the patient greatly impact which therapies a patient is eligible for and how effectively the disease can be managed. There is no cure for malignant mesothelioma. In contrast, benign mesothelioma has a low mortality rate and is easier to treat.
Contact an Asbestos Lawyer
For decades, the asbestos industry has knowingly produced and distributed dangerous products while concealing their risks. If you were exposed to asbestos on the job, having the right law firm on your side can make all the difference — you may be eligible for financial compensation in a mesothelioma claim. The price of pain is infinite, but compensation from holding the responsible parties accountable can cover your medical bills and secure your family’s financial future. Morgan & Morgan understands the devastating nature of a mesothelioma diagnosis and is passionate about fighting for the rights of victims. Unlike other law firms, we never settle for less than your case is worth — even if it means going to trial. Fill out a free case evaluation today and discover what we can do for you.