Asbestos is a fibrous material frequently used in construction, manufacturing, ship-building, and other industries prior to 1970 due to its effective insulating properties and inexpensive nature. Countless studies have proven the link between asbestos exposure and the cancer known as mesothelioma.
The common element found in mesothelioma patients is short- or long-term exposure to asbestos during their lifetime. Years of research and comprehensive case studies have helped medical experts determine that even with small exposure times, asbestos can still cause mesothelioma and other related health problems like fibrosis, diffuse pleural thickening, asbestosis, and asbestos lung cancer.
How Mesothelioma Develops
Imagine sitting in a doctor’s office with chest pain and being told that you have a rare and deadly form of cancer that was caused by your environment, and then realizing the work you did around asbestos decades ago caused your disease. Mesothelioma patients often feel victimized by former employers who allowed dangerous asbestos exposure to occur.
Asbestos leads to mesothelioma cancer by causing the mesothelial cells to become inflamed. These cells (collectively known as mesothelium) form a protective lining of the chest cavity, abdominal cavity, and heart cavity. When the mesothelium is compromised, the lungs and organs are left vulnerable to pathogens and disease. If asbestos fibers are swallowed, abdominal cancer can result.
Although cases of mesothelioma have been reported in patients with no history of asbestos exposure, asbestos is the most commonly reported cause of this disease.
As a naturally-occurring mineral, asbestos is made up of tiny fibers that are easily inhaled into the lungs. When the asbestos material is cut, moved, nailed, or otherwise disturbed, the fibers become airborne.
The tiny fibers of asbestos are dangerous to work around, but they also have the property of traveling well. In some cases, wives of workers exposed to asbestos have contracted the disease from handling their spouse’s clothing and tools.
As many as 3,000 people per year are diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one is facing this cancer diagnosis, an experienced mesothelioma attorney can help you investigate past employers and uncover a link between a dangerous work environment and cancer development. Mesothelioma victims may be able to recover significant damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and other types of compensation.