Asbestos is the broad name for a class of minerals characterized by tiny inhalable fibers. Asbestos is most dangerous when it is friable, meaning it crumbles easily, releasing fibers into the air. These toxic particles have been linked to a number of illnesses, most notably including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.
Diseases Caused by Asbestos: Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Even a very minor exposure can result in the development of this deadly disease, decades later. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the tissues lining the lungs, abdomen, and other parts of the body. The overall prognosis of asbestos sufferers is very poor, with only 8% surviving five years post diagnosis.
Mesothelioma may develop as many as fifty years following exposure, and has been known to affect the family members of workers who brought home the fibers on their clothing, as well as the workers themselves. Because of the severity of the disease and its clear link to asbestos exposure, victims are often eligible for legal compensation from their former employers or others who may have negligently exposed them to toxic fibers.
Diseases Caused by Asbestos: Lung Cancer
Although lung cancer is often associated with a history of cigarette smoking, it may also be caused by asbestos exposure. Although mesothelioma may occur in the lining of the lungs, asbestos has also been associated with lung carcinomas more generally. Like mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer may develop many decades following exposure to asbestos fibers.
Asbestos workers with a history of smoking are far more likely than their peers to later develop lung cancer. Although the prognosis is more promising if the cancer is discovered in its early stages, asbestos-related lung cancer patients have an overall five year survival rate of 15%.
Diseases Caused by Asbestos: Asbestosis
Asbestosis is a non-cancerous disease caused by prolonged exposure to inhaled asbestos fibers. Asbestosis usually develops 15 years or more following asbestos exposure, and is characterized by a thickening of the lungs, resulting in shortness of breath, pain, and other symptoms. Although not a cancer, asbestosis can greatly reduce a victim’s overall quality of life, and has been associated with a greater risk of heart attack and lung cancer.
Mesothelioma Victims May be Eligible for Compensation
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for legal compensation. For decades, employers and asbestos product manufacturers knew of the dangers associated with asbestos, yet took little or no steps to protect their employees or the general public.
If your family is facing a mesothelioma caused by negligent exposure to asbestos fibers, call an experienced asbestos litigation law firm today, to discuss your right to compensation. With decades of experience serving asbestos victims like you, Bergman Draper Oslund is the only firm in the Pacific Northwest exclusively devoted to mesothelioma litigation. Give us a call today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.