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Asbestos and Mesothelioma

asbestos and mesothelioma

Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a material with individual fibers that are invisible to the naked eye. Asbestos has been used in more than 3,000 products such as floor coverings, boilers, pipe insulation, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, plaster walls and exterior siding. According to U.S. Geological Services, asbestos use has been declining over the last 10 years, but it is still an active commodity. Many houses, especially those built before 1990, contain some form of asbestos. Exposure to asbestos can lead to many health risks, including asbestosis (scarring of the lungs), cancer (of the lungs), and mesothelioma (rare, often fatal, cancer, usually occurring in the chest cavity).

Most people who develop mesothelioma are those who have worked in jobs where they inhaled or ingested large amounts of asbestos fibers. The duration of exposure to asbestos can be long or short when it comes to developing mesothelioma -- cases have been found in patients with only one to three months of exposure to asbestos.

Mesothelioma is a very aggressive form of cancer in which for most patients, there is no cure. Health care professionals generally are only left with the option of trying to improve the quality of life for their patients.


Early symptoms are mesothelioma are usually very mild, so many don’t notice or recognize them. In other patients, there aren’t any early symptoms, and they don’t have any discomfort until later stages of the cancer. The symptoms of later stages often are much more noticeable and usually incite a doctor’s visit. According to, mesothelioma signs and symptoms vary, depending on where in the body the cancer is:

Pleural mesothelioma (tissue surrounding the lungs)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing, often painful
  • Unexpected and unexplained loss of weight
  • Pain under the rib cage
  • Sometimes lumps may be detectable under the skin in the chest area
  • Lower back pain
  • Discomfort in the side of the chest
  • Exhaustion
  • Some people may experience sweating, fever, or difficulty swallowing
Peritoneal mesothelioma (lining in the abdomen)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Lumps in the abdomen
  • Nausea, some patients may experience vomiting
Pericardial mesothelioma (lining in the heart area)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fluid retention (edema), often in the legs
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fatigue, extreme after light exertion
  • Chest pain

Mesothelioma has been known to have a long latency period. The disease can lie dormant in an individual for several years after they have been exposed. Because of such a long dormancy period, oftentimes it’s hard for doctors to determine the direct cause of the disease. However, when a patient is diagnosed, it’s usually through imaging scans or a biopsy. Doctors use several tests, including a basic chest x-ray, a PET scan, CT scan or an MRI to check for abnormalities. Once an abnormality is found, the doctor usually recommends a biopsy. In a biopsy, the doctor collects a small tissue sample and tests it for mesothelioma cells. Some doctors will perform blood tests, but those typically do not adequately confirm the presence of mesothelioma cells.


Treatment for mesothelioma includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, as stated earlier, for most cases, there is no cure.

Individuals with malignant mesothelioma have legal options because the cause of the disease is usually exposure to asbestos, and a company is responsible for the exposure. Asbestos-related diseases are legally considered 100 percent preventable and it’s imperative that the patient seek legal help in order to exercise their rights and claim damages from the responsible parties.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and have developed mesothelioma, you have rights. Contact us today and have a knowledgeable Miami asbestos lawyer help you with your case. Call us today toll free at 877-448-8585 or fill out our online contact form.

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