Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure. The first symptoms of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases often do not manifest themselves for fifty years or more. If you or a loved one worked in a high-risk industry such as construction, shipbuilding, manufacturing or paper making during the twentieth century, keep an eye out for symptoms of asbestos-related illness.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the tissues that line organs such as the lungs, abdominal organs, and testes. Mesothelioma of the pleural (lung) lining manifests itself very similarly to lung cancer. Patients may experience shortness of breath, a painful cough, and chest pain under the rib cage. Other symptoms may include unexplained weight loss, sweating, hoarseness, tiredness, and difficulty swallowing. In some cases, patients experience pain in their lower back or side.
Peritoneal (abdominal) mesothelioma symptoms may include abdominal pain or swelling with fluid in the abdomen, weight loss, nausea and vomiting. Although these symptoms are common and may have other causes, if you have a history of working with or around asbestos they should be taken very seriously.
Talking to Your Doctor about Mesothelioma Symptoms
If you worked in a high-risk industry and are experiencing symptoms of mesothelioma, talk to your doctor immediately about your symptoms and your asbestos exposure history. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is often not diagnosed until the cancer is too severe to treat effectively. The earlier your illness is detected, the better your overall prognosis may be.
Your diagnosis should begin with a thorough physical examination, including lung function tests. Your doctor may order blood work to determine the oxygen levels in your blood. A chest x-ray and/or CT scan should be taken to look for evidence of lung cancer or mesothelioma. A definitive mesothelioma diagnosis requires a biopsy, an invasive procedure in which a physician removes a piece of tissue to evaluate under a microscope.
Mesothelioma and High Risk Industries: Post Diagnosis Steps
If you or your loved one has received a devastating diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, you may be eligible to seek compensation from the company that negligently exposed you to toxic asbestos fibers. Employers in high risk industries knew for decades that they were placing their workers in harm’s way, yet took little or no steps to prevent exposure to toxic airborne asbestos fibers. Family members of workers may also have been exposed to asbestos fibers carried home on the clothing of their loved ones.
Asbestos exposure lawsuits can be filed following a mesothelioma diagnosis, even if the initial exposure occurred many decades ago. Call an experienced asbestos litigation firm today, to discuss your next steps. With decades of experience successfully advocating for asbestos exposure victims and their families, Bergman Draper Oslund has handled more mesothelioma cases than any other law firm in the Pacific Northwest. Call us today for a no-cost, no obligation consultation.