Of the many injuries and work related diseases, mesothelioma is perhaps the one that draws much attention. Every other day a case is reported or a compensation claim is filed. Mesothelioma is a cancer that is almost always caused by earlier exposure to asbestos, approximately in ninety percent of cases.
People normally working in industries where asbestos was used extensively, such as construction work, plumbing, ship yards, old houses and at power stations, were more likely to have been exposed to breathing in asbestos fibrous materials often over a period of years and thus are more likely to suffer from either asbestosis or mesothelioma among others.
In the United Kingdom alone almost 2300 people a year are diagnosed with mesothelioma. At least 3,500 people in Great Britain die every year from asbestos related lung cancer and mesothelioma as a result of past exposure to asbestos fibers.
Types of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a cancerous disease that affects the Mesothelium, which is a thin membrane that covers the lungs or the lining of the abdomen. There are two main types of mesothelioma.
1. Peritoneal (if present in abdomen)
2. Pleural (if present in the chest wall)
Pleural Mesothelioma is more common than peritoneal mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos fibers are microscopic and once swallowed or breathed in tend to stay in human body. With time they undergo changes and start damaging the body. Thus mesothelioma does not appear suddenly but takes several years before the symptoms start becoming evident.
Mesothelioma is often confused with asbestosis. Asbestosis is also a disease of the lungs that is caused by again the presence of deadly asbestos fibres but it is not cancerous and thus can be treated more effectively if diagnosed at an early stage.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma symptoms are difficult to spot as they are very comparable to pneumonia. It is important for a doctor to ask a patient if he has a history of being exposed to asbestos related materials. Early diagnosis can prolong life and improve the chances of survival. The main symptoms of mesothelioma are:
• Shortness of breath, especially during excercise
• Chest pain
• A feeling of tightness in the chest.
Other symptoms that sometimes occur are vomiting, nausea, nail abnormalities, constipation or diarrhea and clubbing of the fingers.
The occurrence of mesothelioma is constantly increasing and is expected to surge in the next 15 years. Once the diagnosis is confirm the doctor will decide to start treatment. The main treatment used in asbestosis is oxygen therapy but surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are also used to increase the life span of the patient. The survival from mesothelioma is improving but is still not very promising and varies by area of diagnosis.
Asbestos Compensation Claim
Once a patient has been properly diagnosed and have started treatment he will need specialist care and support. The family should look for the services of a solicitor who specializes in these cases. The matter should be investigated and the responsible party should be held accountable. If needed an asbestos compensation claim should be filed so as to provide monetary help to the suffering family who have to struggle with pain, bills and loss of wages.
Sabeen Nadeem writes about legal and financial matters. She is currently working for Peregrine Claims which offers personal injury compensation services in UK. They have experienced and competent Asbestos Compensation Claims Solicitors and Slips and Trips Experts in UK.