Because mesothelioma is a form of cancer, it will exhibit the common traits associated with such diseases. The main factor behind mesothelioma is the fact that it is caused by the inhalation or ingestion of asbestos particles.
Asbestos is a fire-retardant material that has been used in various industries, particularly for the use of insulation. Asbestos has also been known to be used in the production of cement, roof and floor tiling, and in the insulation for buildings and homes.
Inhalation or ingestion of asbestos particles causes for scar tissue to form, particularly in the lungs. This causes for the lungs to be impeded in the normal expansion and contraction involved with the respiratory process.
Risk Factors for Mesothelioma
Unlike many cancers affecting the lungs, mesothelioma is not necessarily correlated with the smoking of tobacco products. The main adverse factor for the development of mesothelioma is the exposure to asbestos and related products.
Most people that have contracted the disease will prove to have a history of working with asbestos. However, in more rare cases, mesothelioma has developed in individuals that have no prior history of exposure to the material.
Though smoking is not correlated with the development of mesothelioma, the use of tobacco products and exposure to asbestos has proven to highly increase the possibility of developing cancer in the lungs.
Due the occupational relationship of mesothelioma, individuals that have worked in jobs or careers which involved the handling of asbestos are at greatest risk for developing mesothelioma. Though there are governmental regulations in place regarding acceptable levels of asbestos, individuals in the mining and construction fields are most commonly exposed to asbestos, and thus, at higher risk of developing mesothelioma.
The symptoms of mesothelioma are often times hard to pinpoint due to the fact that the disease develops decades after the initial exposure to asbestos. However, the most common symptoms are coughing, difficulty breathing after physical activity, and chest and/or abdominal pain.
In more extreme cases, clubbing of the extremities, such as fingers, may also be present. Diagnosis of mesothelioma will often times prove to be a difficult undertaking due to the symptoms being common among various other diseases.
X-rays are often helpful, though a CAT scan or MRI may be more effective in discovering the disease. However, a formal biopsy is necessary in order determine whether mesothelioma is present.
What to do if Mesothelioma is Present
In the case that mesothelioma is properly diagnosed in a person, there may be the viability of legal recourse. This may most pertinent in the case where a person diagnosed with mesothelioma also is involved with a job in which asbestos is handled.
It is important to consult with an attorney or lawyer knowledgeable with asbestos cases in order to determine the possibility for legal action. A skilled asbestos attorney will be able to recognize the parameters necessary to bring about a lawsuit on behalf of his/her clients to seek compensation due to the damage caused by asbestos exposure.