Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that has become far more well known over recent years among medics and the general public, although there is still a long way to go with regards to educating people about this type of cancer. This form of cancer affects cells known as the mesothelial cells, which can be found located around major organs such as the heart, lungs, and abdominal organs. There are three main types of mesothelioma, and all of these can prove deadly. This is a cancer that is malignant more often than not, and has a number of characteristics that set it apart from other types of cancer.
The three main types of mesothelioma are pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma. These are so called depending upon the part of the body in which the cancer forms. With mesothelioma the cancerous cells can spread quickly, and all too often it is too late for the disease to be effectively treated by the time it is diagnosed. Why? Because one of the distinctive characteristics of this form of cancer is that it has a very long latency period, which means that it can take a long time for the cancer to manifest.
It can, in fact, take several decades for the onset of symptoms of mesothelioma, which means that the cancer could have been festering and spreading within the body for many years before the patient realizes that there is anything wrong. This means diagnosing mesothelioma is made all the more difficult and treating the condition effectively is also difficult. This is because the disease is often in its later stages by the time it is diagnosed because of its long latency period.
The cause of mesothelioma is exposure to a once-commonly used material known as asbestos. Asbestos was once a widely used form of thermal insulation, and although the dangers of working with the material came to light in the 1920s its use was widely continued until the 1970s. Even today, asbestos is still used in many places around the world although there is far more protection and more regulations in place to protect employees that work with it. Many companies that used asbestos years ago were well aware of its dangers but continued to let employees risk their lives through exposure to it. Now that these effects are becoming common knowledge, even to the lay person, many of these irresponsible companies are being sued for millions of dollars by ex-employees who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and have been effectively sentenced to death because of its effects.
In terms of legal recourse, asbestos litigation has become a multi-billion dollar industry, with many people successfully suing asbestos and related companies after contracting mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos. The highest risk group when it comes to mesothelioma is those that have worked with asbestos, as these are the people that are most likely to be exposed for longer periods of time and at higher levels. |In the past, even the families of these workers were put at risk, as they could be exposed to asbestos dust and fibers from the skin, hair, and work clothes of the worker.
Today many strict regulations have come into force when it comes to asbestos in order to minimize on exposure to asbestos and on the chances of contracting mesothelioma. This type of cancer has cost many lives and bankrupt many businesses, both issues about which governments are most concerned. There are now many specialist law firms that deal with compensation claims for mesothelioma sufferers, working to get them compensation to cover medical bills, pain and suffering and to provide their families with financial security once this fatal disease results in death. The situation is set to get worse, with many hundreds of thousands more cases expected over the next 25 years. But with clinical trials into treatment being carried out continually, it is hoped that by that time an effective treatment will be available to treat the disease, whatever stage it is at.
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