Posts tagged with "Asbestos"

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer that grows in the mesothelium, a thin tissue that lines most of the body’s organs. Most cases of mesothelioma result from workplace exposure to asbestos. This disease spreads aggressively and does not have a cure.

The Risk for Mesothelioma

Purple and white swirls

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in the earth and used in the construction industry because of its strong fibers. For example, it is often a component of flooring, roofing, and insulation. The dust created when asbestos is disrupted may be swallowed or inhaled by those who are exposed. Over time, these dust particles create cell changes that cause mesothelioma. This process occurs very slowly. Many people who have mesothelioma are not diagnosed for two to six decades after exposure, according to mesotheliomahelp.org.

Not everyone who comes into contact with asbestos gets mesothelioma. If you have lived with someone who worked with asbestos, you may also be at risk. Risk is also higher for those with a family history of this cancer and those who have had chest radiotherapy to treat previous cancer.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma

The Mesothelioma Center reports that signs of this type of cancer vary depending on the affected organs. Pleural mesothelioma, which grows in the lung tissue, causes coughing, pain while coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and skin lumps on the chest. Peritoneal mesothelioma, affecting the abdomen, causes abdominal pain and swelling as well as nausea. Both types of mesothelioma result in unexplained weight loss. Though mesothelioma can affect other organs, such as the heart and testicles, these cases are quite rare.

Treating Mesothelioma

While no cure exists for this cancer, treatments can help reduce complications and discomfort. Without treatment, a person who has mesothelioma will have trouble breathing and swallowing, increased pain, and fluid accumulation in the chest cavity.

Treatment options depend on how much the cancer has spread as well as the person’s individual health goals. Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the affected tissue and built-up fluid, which can make it easier to breathe and reduce the pain associated with mesothelioma. For some patients, chemotherapy or radiation to kill the cancer cells may be appropriate, along with newer treatment modalities such as immunotherapy.

Were you exposed to asbestos while employed in construction, shipbuilding, steel, or another industry? You may be eligible for legal damages if your employer acted negligently and risked worker safety. D’Amico Law Offices, LLC assists clients in Pittsburgh with personal injury cases, including mesothelioma lawsuits. Call 412-906-8180 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

A Brief History of Asbestos

Many Americans know asbestos as a toxic substance that can cause life-threatening illnesses. However, it once was considered an efficient and safe material for construction projects. Here’s a brief history of the material.

The Discovery of Asbestos

Close up of a woman wearing a surgical mask

Although asbestos was used by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and even craftsmen in the Stone Age, it wasn’t until 1858 that asbestos was commonly used in the United States. It became common when The Johns Company began mining it for use in the United States and Canada during the Industrial Revolution. Because asbestos is resistant to chemicals, heat, water, and electricity, it was commonly used as an insulator during many industrial processes. However, it soon became apparent that asbestos was causing widespread health concerns.

Rising Health Concerns

In 1918, the U.S. government recognized the health risk after reports of early death in asbestos workers became common. In 1930, a doctor named E.R.A. Merewether conducted a clinical examination of hundreds of asbestos workers, finding that one in four was afflicted by a condition called asbestosis. He also concluded that not only workers but also those exposed to asbestos products may be at risk, as there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure.

Connection with Cancer

Many asbestos workers began developing lung cancer as the years went on. In 1949, Dr. Wilhelm Heuper, a physician and contributor to the National Cancer Institute, warned the general population of the connection between asbestos and cancer risk. This was after the first report of a mesothelioma-like tumor in 1943. Mesothelioma, a condition characterized by a tumor that can either be malignant (cancerous) or benign (noncancerous), was linked to asbestos in studies conducted between the 1950s and ’60s. However, the asbestos industry continued to sell and install asbestos without warning workers well into the 1960s.

Seeking Compensation

After the tragedy of long-term exposure to a toxic material, those affected by the asbestos industry soon began receiving compensation. In 1967, a UK citizen was the first to file a successful personal injury claim due to mesothelioma, which was upheld by an appeals court in 1971. In the same year, a federal court issued a verdict of $68,000 for victims which was also upheld by an appeals court. Currently, nearly 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year, according to the CDC. Many of these victims are still eligible for compensation.

Mesothelioma is a devastating condition that many could have avoided. Unfortunately, unethical practices by the asbestos industry had adverse effects on its workers. If you are the victim of illness due to asbestos exposure, or any other personal injury, contact D’Amico Law Offices, LLC today at 412-906-8180 to determine if you are eligible for compensation.