Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer caused by exposure to the naturally
occurring mineral fiber asbestos. Although the
risks of asbestos were known in the United States as early as the 1920s, the fiber was widely
used to manufacture everything from navy ships to home insulation. Over
the next 25 years, experts estimate that asbestos lung cancer will cause
100,000 deaths. As of 2004, there were 43,000 documented cases of Americans
dying due to asbestos exposure. As many as 10,000 people die from mesothelioma
and related asbestos related conditions every year.
Occupational Exposure to Asbestos
Experts estimate that anywhere from five to seven percent of lung cancer
cases can be attributed to occupational exposure, particularly in occupations such as:
- The U.S. Navy
- Shipyard workers
- Rail workers
Some statistics set the figure of asbestos exposure at the workplace at
20-40% for adult males. Although guidelines for asbestos exposure at the
workplace are stricter than they have ever been before, many people were
exposed prior to these regulations and may develop mesothelioma at some
point during their lifetime.
About Mesothelioma Lung Cancer
Mesothelioma is named such because it is cancer that affects the mesothelial
tissue, which is the tissue that surrounds the lungs as well as other
organs such as the heart or abdominal cavity. The latency period for mesothelioma
cancer is much longer than other cancers. In other words, people who inhale
or ingest asbestos fibers may not be diagnosed with mesothelioma for another
20 or 30 years.
Mesothelioma is caused when an individual breathes in or swallows asbestos
fibers. Before strict regulations were in place, people who worked with
asbestos (or around equipment comprised of asbestos) were not equipped
with breathing masks or other types of protective gear to prevent ingestion.
Many workers, without protective clothing, would come home with asbestos
dust on their clothes and ingest it while undressing, even spreading the
fibers around their home and family.
Types of Mesothelioma
There are three
types of mesothelioma, although pleural malignant is the most common type comprising about 75
percent of all diagnoses.
- Peritoneal (abdominal cavity mesothelioma)
- Pericardial (heart lining mesothelioma)
If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, we understand your struggle and
want to do whatever it takes to ensure that you get the treatment you
deserve. Contact Worthington & Caron, PC today to tell us what happened
to you or your loved one, and we can inform you of
your legal rights and options.