Every year, around 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States. While this cancer may be rare, it can have a devastating impact.
Unfortunately, early detection is a challenge. Because of this, despite mesothelioma treatment advances, there are also around 2,500 deaths every year. But what causes mesothelioma?
Is preventing cancer possible with this type? Keep reading to learn more about this disease.
Causes of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer, is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos. This naturally occurring mineral was once hailed for its heat resistance and durability. Unfortunately, these qualities make it dangerous when inhaled or ingested.
When asbestos fibers get released into the air, they can be easily inhaled and lodged in the lining of organs such as the lungs or abdomen. Over time, these trapped fibers cause inflammation and scarring. This can eventually lead to mesothelioma development.
Around 70 to 80% of cases of mesothelioma can be traced back to asbestos. While asbestos is the most common cause, it’s not the only cause.
Erionite is a volcanic mineral. It was first linked to mesothelioma in Turkey after an increase in cases.
Erionite is part of a group of minerals called zeolites, and chemically, it’s related to asbestos. There are several places where erionite can be found in the United States. Some of the more common places include:
- North Dakota and Western states
- Road development projects
- Gravel quarries
Some cases of mesothelioma have occurred after receiving radiation for another type of cancer. This is rare and was seen in patients receiving high doses.
There have been some theories stating certain viruses like Simian virus 40 can cause mesothelioma. However, more research is needed here.
Where Can You Be Exposed to Asbestos?
Now known as the leading cause of mesothelioma, asbestos is no longer used in many industries due to its health risks. However, it can still be found in older buildings and materials.
Construction, shipbuilding, mining, and manufacturing workers were at high risk in the past. They had direct contact with products containing asbestos. Workers who handle or disturb these materials often breathe in tiny fibers released into the air.
The general public can also be exposed to this dangerous substance through environmental pollution. Buildings made before the 1980s might have asbestos or other materials that release fibers. If you don’t take proper precautions, renovating or demolishing these structures can release a lot of asbestos dust into the air.
Certain consumer products can contain asbestos fibers. Older appliances, such as hairdryers and heaters, had parts made of asbestos-containing materials. Sometimes, even talcum powder products can have traces of this harmful mineral.
Natural Mineral Deposits
Individuals living near natural deposits of asbestos minerals might also be exposed to airborne fibers. These deposits occur naturally in certain regions around the world. They pose a potential risk to residents breathing in contaminated air regularly.
How Much Asbestos Exposure Causes Mesothelioma?
The truth is, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Even a little bit of contact with asbestos can cause mesothelioma in the future.
When individuals inhale or ingest asbestos fibers, they can become lodged in their body’s tissues for years. Inflammation can cause changes in cells, which may lead to cancer.
But, remember the chance of getting mesothelioma goes up with more asbestos exposure. People who have worked with asbestos for a long time are at very high risk. These individuals include the following:
- Construction workers
- Factory workers
- Insulation installers
- Shipyard workers
- Veterans who served on ships or aircraft containing asbestos
It’s also worth mentioning that secondhand asbestos exposure can be a significant concern as well. Family members living with individuals working around asbestos or laundering their contaminated clothing may unknowingly inhale or ingest these dangerous fibers.
It’s important to know symptoms of mesothelioma may not show up for many years after asbestos exposure. The long time it takes for symptoms to appear makes it hard to find the cancer early. This can lead to worse outcomes for patients.
How a Lawyer Can Help After a Diagnosis of Mesothelioma?
A diagnosis of mesothelioma can be devastating for both the patient and their loved ones. In addition to dealing with the physical and emotional toll of the disease, there are also legal implications to consider. This is where a lawyer with experience in mesothelioma cases can provide invaluable assistance.
A skilled lawyer can handle legal issues regarding asbestos exposure. They understand the intricacies of filing lawsuits against responsible parties. This could include companies that make asbestos or employers who don’t protect workers from asbestos.
A skilled attorney will have access to resources that can help strengthen your case. They may collaborate with mesothelioma specialists to gather evidence of your diagnosis. They’ll also work to establish a connection between your illness and asbestos exposure.
Time to Focus on Your Health
A lawyer will also handle all aspects of your case on your behalf. This allows you to focus on getting treatment and spending time with loved ones. From gathering necessary documentation to negotiating settlements or representing you in court, they will ensure every aspect of your legal battle is handled.
Another crucial role a lawyer plays is advocating for maximum compensation for you and your family. Mesothelioma can result in the following:
- Significant medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Other damages
If your loved one has died due to mesothelioma then you or your family may have a claim. An experienced attorney can fight tirelessly on your behalf to secure fair compensation for these losses.
Work With an Experienced Attorney for Your Case
Have you or a loved one received a diagnosis of mesothelioma? You may be entitled to compensation.
At Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello, we’ve been fighting for the people of Louisiana for over 50 years. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.