Asbestos exposure is a known cause of mesothelioma, a type of cancer of the mesothelial cells surrounding the heart, lungs, and abdomen. Mesothelioma develops in three primary ways, depending on the type of exposure and initial organ affected. A victim of asbestos exposure resulting in cancer may be diagnosed with pleural, pericardial, or peritoneal mesothelioma. In very rare cases, mesothelioma may originate in the lining of the ovaries and testicles.
As the most common type of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma indicates cancer growth in the lungs and chest cavity. It affects the pleura, or the lining of the lungs. Patients with pleural mesothelioma may experience cancer cell spread throughout the body. Victims of pleural mesothelioma often complain of fever, chest pains, weight loss, or breathing trouble. Fluid in the lungs is one of the most common indicators of this type of mesothelioma.
Pericaridal mesothelioma is the rarest form of the disease, affecting the pericardium, the protective layer of cells around the heart. Growth of cancer cells in the pericardium disrupts oxygen distribution, resulting in elevated heart rate and eventually leading to catastrophic heart failure. Pericardial mesothelioma patients often present with chest pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms indicative of heart attack.
This type of mesothelioma, affecting about 20% of cases, indicates that cancer cells originated in the lining of the abdomen. Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma may experience rapid spread of cancer cells to the internal organs. Peritoneal mesothelioma often presents with symptoms like vomiting, bowel disruption, fever, and stomach pain.
A diagnosis of mesothelioma usually results in fatality, although aggressive treatment is often used to halt the spread of cancer cells. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and alternative therapies are common sources of disease management for mesothelioma patients. Symptom management through pain relief modalities and medication are also frequently used.
Personal injury lawyers can help victims of mesothelioma and their families by filing claims against former employers who are responsible for asbestos exposure. In successful cases, mesothelioma victims or surviving family members are able to recover significant funds to compensate for cancer treatment expenses, emotional damages, loss of income, and other devastating effects of this disease.