Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that commonly affects the thin linings of tissues surrounding vital areas of the body like the lungs, heart, and abdominal cavity. This rare disease is directly associated with exposure to asbestos, a flaky white mineral once commonly used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications.
Although asbestos has been regulated since the 1970s because of its proven link to mesothelioma and other serious health conditions, companies that already knew of the dangers still chose to continue using it in many applications. As a result, mesothelioma patients may have claims against asbestos companies for their mesothelioma diagnoses and may be able to recover compensation for their damages.
Unfortunately, the disease is fatal and difficult to diagnose for a variety of reasons. Three of the main reasons mesothelioma is so difficult to diagnose include the following:
Mesothelioma is Rare
Despite thousands of patients receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis every year, the disease is still rare by medical standards, and its symptoms often present themselves as a more benign condition. Furthermore, many physicians moy not immediately think of mesothelioma as the source of a patient's symptoms and incorrectly diagnose the condition.
Mesothelioma has a Long Latency Period
Mesothelioma takes decades to develop after patients suffer from asbestos exposure, typically anywhere from 20 to 50 years. However, depending on when the exposure occurs, some patients may present symptoms sooner than others. Because of the long latency period for mesothelioma, patients may be left with limited treatment options by the time doctors finally make a diagnosis.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma are Common
Some of the common symptoms of mesothelioma present themselves as those of pneumonia or other medical conditions that are not as serious as a deadly cancer. In order for doctors to properly diagnose mesothelioma, doctors need to perform more sophisticated testing. Typical mesothelioma symptoms include:
â— Dry cough
â— Weight loss
â— Shortness of breath
â— Chest pain
â— Respiratory complications
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Attorneys
If you or a loved one experienced any of the above conditions, you should ask your physician if he or she has ruled out mesothelioma as the cause of the symptoms. Mesothelioma patients may be entitled to substantial compensation for their damages, including hospital bills, medical expenses, and lost wages. Because strict time deadlines apply when filing claims, mesothelioma patients should contact an attorney about their cases as soon as possible.