Birmingham Alabama Mesothelioma Attorneys
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers. Mesothelioma affects the mesothelial cells, which line the body’s major organs: heart, stomach, lungs. The mesothelilal cells line the mesothelelium, a protective, two-layered membrane that covers the internal organs of the body, and produce fluid allowing movement of the heart and lungs within the chest cavity. Mesothelioma is a direct result of exposure to asbestos. The duration of exposure is directly linked with the severity of the disease. Thus, the longer someone is exposed to asbestos, the likelihood of someone developing mesothelioma increases. However, mesothelioma can take years, often decades, to present itself.
Recent cases involving first responders and clean-up crews in September 11th ground-zero efforts show that high concentrations of asbestos can cause the disease to manifest rapidly. However, mesothelioma has what is called a latency period and typically develops over a period of 20 to 50 years and is more commonly diagnosed in older people. Statistics show that, because of their work history, the disease most often affects men in Alabama between the ages of 50 and 70 who were employed in an asbestos-laden environment before asbestos regulations were imposed in the late 1970s. Though women still have a much lower frequency of the disease, cases of second-hand asbestos exposure has prompted more diagnoses among women – especially those whose male family members worked with asbestos in Alabama.
When a person is diagnosed with Mesothelioma in Alabama, it is often a direct result from years of working with asbestos. Family members who have been exposed to asbestos fibers at home also are at risk of developing mesothelioma. For example, if a family member washes the clothing of someone who worked with asbestos, that family member could develop mesothelioma. Because symptoms of mesothelioma cancer often resemble less serious conditions such as influenza, it is often very difficult to diagnose.
Types of Mesothelioma Suffered by Its Victims
There are several types of mesothelioma:
1. Pleural Mesothelioma – cancer that develops in the chest cavity or lungs. This is the most common type of cancer caused from asbestos and accounts for roughly 75% off all reported mesothelioma cases. Pleural mesothelioma results when the lining of the lungs , the pleura, is attacked. The pleura contains the lungs and a thin membrane, mesothelium, which secretes a vital fluid that allows the lungs to expand and contract. Pleural mesothelioma typically has a longer latency period and usually develops 30-40 years after initial exposure.
Symptoms associated with lung cancer or pleural mesothelioma are:
- Chronic chest pain
- Weight loss
- Muscle weakness
- Swelling in the face and/or arm
- Coughing of blood
2. Peritoneal Mesothelioma – cancer that develops in the abdomen and affects the lining of the stomach, called the peritoneum. This is the second most common type of mesothelioma occurring in roughly 10%-20% of patients. Peritoneal mesothelioma has a shorter latency period and normally presents itself 20-30 years after asbestos exposure. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may vary with each patient and can be affected by the location of the tumors, the size of the tumors, and the age and general health of the individual in question.
Symptoms associated with stomach cancer or peritoneal mesothelioma are:
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Lower back pain;
- Bowel obstruction;
- Abdominal swelling, feet swelling;
- Anemia and shortness of breath; or
- Shortness of breath.
3. Pericardial Mesothelioma – cancer that affects the pericardium, otherwise known as the lining of the heart. The rarest of the three forms of mesothelioma and is diagnosed in about 10 % of all mesothelioma cases. The only treatment for this type of cancer is to remove the pericardium. Pericardial mesothelioma is is the least common type of cancer. However, because the cancer lodges in the area around the heart, doctors consider it even more serious than other forms of the disease. The prognosis is very poor primarily because it presents itself late and it is quite difficult to remove surgically.
Symptoms associated with pericardial mesothelioma are:
- Chest pain;
- Shortness of breath; or
- Heart failure.
4. Testicular Mesothelioma – cancer that develops in the lining surrounding the testicles. Testicular mesothelioma is by far the rarest form of mesothelioma. Because testicular mesothelioma is so rare, there are no recognized symptoms for this type of cancer. In the few reported cases, symptoms have mainly been in the appearance of the testicular lumps and swelling of the scrotum.
If Mesothelioma Has Struck You or a Family Member, Call Today
Even if the person suffering mesothelioma has passed, the family may still be entitled to receive a substantial recovery. Please contact Farris, Riley & Pitt today at 205-324-1212 or toll free at 1-888-580-5176 to schedule a free case evaluation.