Many American individuals are unaware of what mesothelioma is, let alone how it develops within the human body over time. Friday, September 26, marks Mesothelioma Awareness Day, so we thought it might be the perfect time to spread some awareness and post an overview of this asbestos-related disease.
Mesothelioma begins with asbestos exposure. But how is one exposed to asbestos? Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that occurs naturally within our earth. Americans embraced the substance during the past century, using it in products and building materials of all kinds. Those that worked with the substance — handling it on a daily basis for years on end – are those most at risk for developing mesothelioma.
After asbestos fibers are breathed in by an individual, the body is unable to remove them from the respiratory system. Asbestos fibers can penetrate and damage the surface of the mesothelium, a membrane that lines the pleural cavity where your lungs are, resulting in irregular cell division that can progress into malignant tumors. This is known as pleural mesothelioma, but there are other types of the cancer that can affect different parts of the body, including the abdomen, heart, and testicles.
Mesothelioma is often mistaken for other respiratory illnesses by medical professionals. If you know you have been exposed to asbestos, it would be a good idea to alert your doctor to the possibility of a future mesothelioma diagnosis. Typically, it can take ten to fifty years for someone exposed to asbestos to be diagnosed with mesothelioma. Once diagnosed, patients’ life expectancies fall to one to two years. An early diagnosis could mean living a longer and healthier life, like survivor Heather Von St. James.
Many mesothelioma victims and their families have been compensated for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and more after being diagnosed with the disease. If you have been diagnosed with any asbestos-related disease, you have a limited time to file a lawsuit against those responsible for your disease. If you or a loved one has been affected, do not hesitate to contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney today.
Want to know more about mesothelioma? Browse the Mesothelioma Overview on our website. We have an abundance of information available on the subject.