A rare but deadly form of cancer can strike anyone who has ever been exposed to asbestos. In the U.S., asbestos was once used in many industries due to its durability and resistance to heat, fire, chemicals and electricity.
Today, we recognize the danger of asbestos, but for many people in West Virginia, the damage has already been done. Mesothelioma, the cancer caused by inhaling asbestos particles, can appear years or decades after the victim was exposed.
It attacks the mesothlium, which is a tissue that lines organs like the lungs and heart. Mesothelioma forms tumors in the mesothlium, usually starting in the lungs. If the victim has the malignant form of mesothelioma, the disease then spreads to other organs in his or her body.
According to the National Institutes of Health, mesothelomia’s symptoms are similar to those caused by lung cancer. They include:
- Breathing problems
- Pain under the rib cage
- Pain, lumps or swelling in the abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
Many patients do not get diagnosed until the disease is in an advanced stage, complicating treatment. Options include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or some combination of these.
Because there is commonly a years-long gap between asbestos exposure and falling ill, proving which employer is responsible for this terrible cancer to develop can be difficult. But victims should not have to bear the burden of paying for treatment on their own. An experienced attorney can help victims weigh their legal options and get compensation, so they can focus on recovering their health.