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What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancerous tumor that can develop in any part of the human body where mesothelium is found.

As mesothelium is a protective membrane sac that surrounds the vital organs, typically the disease is found in the lining of the lungs and chest. Less frequently, it also develops in the lining of the abdomen of the suffer. The best known cause of mesothelioma cancer is exposure to asbestos, a heat resistant fiber that was previously used in a wide range of products from industry to the insulation of roofs in homes. Once inhaled, the asbestos fibers settle in the mesothelium lining and, given time and enough exposure, mesothelioma can develop.

Unlike previous cancerous tumors that have come to light, with mesothelioma it now appears likely that most manufacturers and employers became aware at an early stage that asbestos had harmful side-effects. As such, many individuals who have become affected with mesothelioma have subsequently been able to file lawsuits against those who put them in the position whereby they may become exposed to this dreadful disease. One of the ongoing problems, however, with this remedy is the fact that mesothelium cancer can take years before it starts to show. In some cases, this period has been over 40 years. For this reason, showing a connection between the point exposure and the patient can be difficult, and referral and advice from a good mesothelioma lawyer should be sought at the earliest possible moment after you, or a loved one, has been diagnosed with this dreadful debilitating disease.

Having stated that asbestos is the cause of mesothelioma, it should be noted that it is widely regarded that asbestos is the primary cause of this disease, but not the sole and only cause. Approximately one in three mesothelioma suffers have not been exposed to asbestos, so if the symptoms of the disease sound familiar, do not dismiss your chances of having this disease simply because you were never exposed to asbestos, you should still seek a medical consultation at your earliest possible convenience.

As with most cancers, a patient's chances of recovering from mesothelioma will depend on how early they seek treatment. The longer that you continue to suffer the symptoms of this disease without seeking medical treatment, the less chance you'll have of recovery. As such, if you are encountering:

  • unexplainable weight loss,
  • shortness of breath
  • extreme tiredness
  • hoarse voice
  • short breath
  • chest pains
  • cough
  • back pain
  • recurring fever


then you should seek a consultation with your physician and explain your concerns. Also remember, it is unlikely that recent exposure to asbestos is going to result in you having contracted mesothelioma. Far more likely is your having been exposed to asbestos 20 or so years previously. Consequently, if you think or believe you were in a high risk asbestos exposure environment in the past 20 to 30 years, you should make sure that you include regular check-ups for mesothelioma as part of your normal annual physical check-up.

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