Mesothelioma FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

Mesothelioma is one of the most devasating and dangerous diseases of the modern day, but few people understand the nature of the condition until they have first hand experience. These frequently asked questions should help illuminate some common concerns about this disease.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous mineral traditionally used for insulation in construction, engineering, and scientific industries. Asbestos releases microscopic fibers into the air that when inhaled, can cause a number of health hazards.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and the heart.

What are the symptoms of this disease?

Symptoms for mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pain, or coughing up blood. Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because it shares symptoms with many different conditions, or natural signs of aging. Also, different types of mesothelioma cause different symptoms.

What are the types of mesothelioma?

The most common form of mesothelioma is called pleural mesothelioma. This condition affects the lining surrounding the lungs and chest cavity. The second most common form is called peritoneal mesothelioma, which attacks the cell membrane around the inside of the abdomen. The rarest form is called pericardial mesothelioma, which damages the cells in the sac around the heart. Each form is terminal.

Who is at risk of asbestos exposure?

Those at greatest risk for asbestos exposure are people who worked in the asbestos, construction, and shipbuilding industries. Millions of people have suffered exposure to asbestos due the proliferation of the over 3000 products know to contain asbestos.

Why is this material dangerous?

The small size of the asbestos particle is especially dangerous because they linger in the air, accumulate on clothing, and are easily inhaled. Once inhaled, they begin to damage the cellular structure of many internal organs, most frequently the lungs.

Does exposure to asbestos only lead to mesothelioma?

While mesothelioma is sadly a common consequence of asbestos exposure, it is not the only deadly condition caused by this deadly material. Another condition called asbestosis is often caused by inhaling asbestos particles.

What is asbestosis?

Asbestosis is the accumulation of scar tissue in the lungs caused by asbestos particles. Over time, this scar tissue will overwhelm the lung and cause lung and heart failure.

What treatments are available for victims of asbestos-related illnesses?

While the there are no cures for mesothelioma or asbestosis, medical science makes advances every day in diagnosing and treating these devastating conditions.

Does cigarette smoking cause this disease?

Cigarettes do not cause mesothelioma by themselves, but people exposed to asbestos are encouraged to not smoke. Smoking can exacerbate damaged lungs, and it increases the likelihood of developing mesothelioma by 50-90%.

What should people do if diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease?

Victims should follow all the directions of their doctors, but they should also contact an attorney to see if they have reason to pursue legal action against the party responsible for their injuries.

Does the law limit how long victims can pursue justice?

Yes, individual states have laws called statues of limitations, which limit how much time victims can initiate legal action.

I don’t have much money, how can I afford a lawyer?

Most mesothelioma lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they don’t get paid unless you do. This ensures they will devote all their energy to winning your case.

No attorney’s fees, court costs, or expenses (except unpaid medical bills) unless you recover.

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This Mesothelioma FAQ's (FAQ) page was updated on 1/11/2012