What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer in which cells of the mesothelium (a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body) become abnormal and malignant.  The only known cause of this abnormality is exposure to asbestos.  The most common anatomical site for Mesothelioma is the pleura, which is the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall.

Who gets Mesothelioma?

Most people who develop Mesothelioma have worked in jobs where they inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers, or were exposed to airborne asbestos dust and fibers in other ways.  Although asbestos use in the US has declined, a steady number of people are still getting diagnosed with Mesothelioma, as symptoms of this cancer can appear 20 to 50 years after asbestos exposure.

About 3,000 people are diagnosed with Mesothelioma each year in the United States.  About 3,000 people are estimated to die each year from asbestos-related cancer.  About 10,000 people are estimated to die each year from conditions related to asbestos.

How do I deal with Mesothelioma?

Being diagnosed with Mesothelioma can be overwhelming and very difficult to cope with.  Decisions often need to be made quickly.

Learning more about the disease and knowing what to ask your doctor can help.

Learning more about your compensation options can help.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

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Types of Mesothelioma

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Stages of Mesothelioma

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Other Asbestos-Related Diseases

Lung Cancer:
The most common form of the Mesothelioma cancer attacks the lungs.  Although we generally think of lung cancer as being caused by exposure to tobacco smoke, we are becoming increasingly aware that many victims develop and die from lung cancer from exposure to dangerous substances likes asbestos dust, silica dust, radon gas, and many other industrial pollutants.  Individuals who were exposed to asbestos in their occupation have a much higher risk of developing lung cancer.  Annually, lung cancer kills about 150,000 Americans.

Asbestosis:
A scarring and thickening of the lung tissue, which is caused only by asbestos.  Smoking increases the risk of death by Asbestosis.

Pleural Plaques:
Benign growths that produce patches of thickening of the lining of the chest wall and diaphrams in the pleural membranes surrounding the lungs.

Ovarian Cancer:
There is a link to asbestos exposure, as researchers found found 77 percent more cases of ovarian cancer among women who worked with asbestos compared to the general public.

Laryngeal Cancer:
There is a link to asbestos exposure and development of cancer to the larnyx, otherwise known as the voice box or adam's apple.

Other Cancers:
There seems to be a link between asbestos exposure and many cancers, including esophageal cancer, gallbladder cancer, kidney cancer, and throat cancer.  Studies are having increasing success linking these cancers to asbestos exposure.  It appears that asbestos exposure increases a person’s risk for some cancers.

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