What Does It Mean to Have Mesothelioma?
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that develops in the tissues surrounding the lungs or abdomen. This type of cancer targets the mesothelial cells – cells covering the exterior surface of most internal organs – a lining known as the mesothelium.
Caused by asbestos exposure, this type of cancer is a very aggressive – even deadly – disease. Although there are treatments available for many of those diagnosed with mesothelioma, the fact remains that there is no cure.
When it comes to diagnosing mesothelioma, doctors divide cases into different categories, depending on which portion of the mesothelium is affected. The most common mesothelioma cases are those surrounding the lungs, or pleura mesothelioma. In more rare cases, mesothelioma may affect the tissue around the abdomen, which is known as peritoneal mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma can also affect the testicles in men and the ovaries in women.
Depending on where the cancer is located, patients may experience any number of mesothelioma symptoms. Unfortunately, many of these symptoms mimic those of other illnesses or disease, making mesothelioma that much more difficult to pinpoint and diagnose.
In pleural mesothelioma cases, warning signs and symptoms include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Painful coughing
- Chest pain underneath the rib cage
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual lumps of tissue on the chest
Those with peritoneal mesothelioma may experience other symptoms, such as:
- Abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lumps of tissue around the abdomen
Other forms of mesothelioma may be more difficult to identify, as their signs and symptoms are often unclear. For example, mesothelioma affecting tissue around the heart may cause chest pains or shortness of breath, while cases surrounding the testicles may not be detected until a swelling or mass develops on the testicle.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis is never easy. For many, receiving a diagnosis from a doctor can be a shocking, disturbing experience. In addition to anxiety over the unknowns, patients have a number of serious decisions to make, including those regarding treatment.
Doctors will typically recommend three primary options for treatment in mesothelioma cases: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The course of treatment varies on a case-by-case basis, and depends on the type of mesothelioma case you are dealing with, as well as your overall health.
If the cancer has not spread, doctors may recommend a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. This combined approach is known as multimodal therapy. However, in cases where the cancer has spread significantly, a doctor may recommend palliative treatments, which can help with easing pain and breathing problems, as well as other symptoms that lessen your quality of life. Radiation and chemotherapy are likely options in these scenarios, though surgery is not likely to be recommended.
Helping Those Exposed to Asbestos
At Antion McGee Law Group, PLLC, we have experience handling a number of mesothelioma-related cases affecting those from a variety of backgrounds.
Many cases we see deal with occupational exposure to asbestos, or cases where employees or contract workers are exposed while on the job. Such cases have included:
- Factory Workers
- Pipe fitters
- Petroleum Refineries
- Insulating Materials
- Power Plant workers
- Auto mechanics
- Chemical workers
- Iron workers
- Steel mill workers
- Construction Workers
- Remodeling Workers
- Shipyard Workers
We have also seen many cases involving military veterans. Since many military ships – including those in the Navy – are built with asbestos products, some of those who served our country may be diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer or other diseases.
There are also cases where asbestos exposure occurs without knowing that there is a present risk. For example, family members of those who come into contact with asbestos – construction workers, engineers, etc. – can experience second-hand exposure if there are asbestos particles on the clothing or other materials brought into the home.
From automobile technicians and construction professionals to military personnel, there are a variety of ways that occupational exposure can occur. However, many cases involve those who are not aware that exposure is occurring, or that there is even a risk for exposure at all.
What Are My Legal Options?
If you or someone you know are dealing with mesothelioma symptoms, or if you have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, know that you are not alone. Dealing with this type of disease is never easy, but there are legal options available to you.
The legal process specific to mesothelioma cases is an in-depth one, and will require the wisdom and expertise of an attorney. Because each asbestos case is unique – each client having their own individual circumstances, diagnosis, exposure, etc. – it is important to seek legal counsel from attorneys who have had experience handling asbestos-related cases.
Working with You to Pinpoint Exposure
Many mesothelioma cases involve patients who don’t quite know how or when asbestos exposure occurred. In addition to being incredibly small and aerodynamic, asbestos fibers have a long shelf life – a key reason why they were once used in so many products.
Because of that, it is nearly impossible to pinpoint which specific asbestos fiber caused an individual’s disease. However, an attorney specializing in asbestos-related cases can work with you to develop a complete exposure history, and investigate any and all possible sources of asbestos exposure.
In working with our mesothelioma clients, we explore your potential exposure history, from childhood to the point of diagnosis. That means exploring your entire work history, as well as the work history of your family members. Because the disease has such a long incubation period, it is possible that mesothelioma has come about as a result of exposure during childhood.
Once we have assessed your exposure history, we can determine whether or not your exposure qualifies as:
- Direct exposure
- Bystander exposure
- Environmental exposure
- Household exposure
Regardless of the type of exposure you are dealing with, it’s important to have an attorney who knows how to address the important questions. For example, certain mesothelioma cases are less clear than others, such as cases where environmental exposure is suspected. In these cases, we want to know:
- Do you live near a factory that’s a known asbestos product producer, or consumer of asbestos products?
- Do you work in a setting – whether it be a plant, factory or other industrial site – known to have a significant risk for asbestos exposure?
Household exposure cases also take a similar approach. Because we are trying to pinpoint exposure, we need to explore a variety of options. Many cases involve a family member who has transported fibers home as the result of:
- Working in an environment where asbestos products are/were in use
- Working in an environment where asbestos products are/were manipulated
Once we have assessed your exposure history and determined likely sources of exposure, we can move forward with holding the necessary parties responsible.
Compensation for Mesothelioma Clients
When assessing any mesothelioma case, and recommending a course for legal action, we sometimes come across clients who recall seeing television ads discussing mesothelioma cases. Such ads also make lofty claims, including suggesting that there are billions of dollars in funds allocated to mesothelioma patients and their legal settlements.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
The truth is quite the opposite. Although certain asbestos manufacturers have declared bankruptcy due to asbestos liabilities, and set up trust funds to compensate current and future victims, the fact remains that these trusts do not provide full compensation to victims. Instead, they only cover a portion of the injury and loss.
Why is this? For one, asbestos is still not a completely banned substance in the United States. Another reason is that people continued to be exposed well after it was a scientifically proven fact that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. That means that new cases of mesothelioma will continue to occur, so these funds could not possibly cover each and every victim adequately.
Why Choose Antion McGee Law Group, PLLC for Your Mesothelioma Case?
Our firm is committed to seeing your case through to a full, successful result. We will work with you to develop a strategy to collect compensation from all responsible parties. This includes viable defendants who caused your mesothelioma, as well as bankrupt entities that can be held liable.
This is important because, in most scenarios, both bankrupt and viable defendants have contributed, in some way, to a client’s asbestos exposure.
Our attorneys are able to travel to meet with our clients, whether it be to your home, hospital or another location convenient for you and your family. We know that dealing with asbestos-related cancer is never easy, and that’s why our team of attorneys is committed to working around your specific needs, and the needs of your case.
Our firm also has a great deal of experience in handling these types of cases in a trial setting, which can prove game-changing when seeking compensation or other damages that may be disputed.
Taking Your Case to Trial
In the state of West Virginia, it generally takes ten months from the point of filing before a complaint will reach trial.
This is significant for mesothelioma victims, considering the fact that, during those ten months, they are forced to pay steep out-of-pocket expenses stemming from medical treatments and loss of wages. In many situations, we have clients spending their lifelong, hard-earned savings just to be able to afford treatments and other assistance to combat this preventable disease.
Many patients also experience a great deal of emotional distress when facing the devastation that mesothelioma can bring. So, when it comes to handling your mesothelioma claim, our firm’s goal is to secure your compensation as quickly as possible.
Legal Guidance You Can Trust
We never back down from a fight, and are prepared to fight for you and your family today. Our attorneys have been on the ground, understand what to look for, and have had a great deal of success litigating these types of claims in a court of law. We know how to ask the questions that matter to your individual case, and can approach your claim with the highest levels of honesty, sincerity, and compassion.
We hope you’ll become part of the Antion McGee family. To schedule an initial consultation to assess your mesothelioma claim, call our attorneys today at (304) 807-0739.