Individuals exposed to dangerous asbestos toxins face a risk of developing mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that is frequently misdiagnosed as a lingering cold or flu. With many cases of mesothelioma not diagnosed for decades after the initial asbestos exposure, individuals suffering from the disease often receive treatment in its final stages. By recognizing the initial stages of this fatal disease, victims of asbestos exposure can receive medical treatment much earlier, leading to greater treatment options and better prognoses.
Individuals typically first become exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers at the workplace. Workers in the construction, shipbuilding, and automobile industries are most likely to inhale this dust-like substance. After initial exposure, it can take 20 or 40 years for mesothelioma to be diagnosed. Over 75 percent of patients diagnosed with this disease suffer from pleural mesothelioma, which has four distinct stages.
When the cancer is identified in Stage I, mesothelioma patients have the best chance of survival when metastasis is in its earliest stages. Identified on a CT scan as an enlarged pleura, the protective lining of the lungs, Stage I is a well localized form of cancer that has not yet spread to the lymph nodes. With virtually no symptoms, it remains extremely hard to diagnose the disease.
Stage II spreads cancerous tumors to the part of the pleura covering the lungs and diaphragm. Mild chest pain, fever, weight loss, and increased fatigue may accompany this stage. When mesothelioma is identified during Stage I or II, physicians can attempt curative treatments, including surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
As the disease develops to the final two stages, symptoms are more frequent and bothersome. The first symptoms to develop are coughing, hoarseness, severe chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and shortness of breath. Since these complaints can mimic other common respiratory illnesses, such as the flu or other viruses, physicians easily fail to diagnose mesothelioma at this stage. The cancer tumors have now spread to the chest wall, lymph nodes, and top pericardial layer.
Stage IV is the most advanced and serious stage of the disease. Tumors have invaded the chest wall, pericardium, diaphragm, and other more distant organs. Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma during its final stage face an average survival time of one year or less and are placed on palliative treatments to deal with their high pain levels.
The financial burden of dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis can be overwhelming for families. Medical expenses include the costs of hospital stays, physician visits, diagnostic tests, X-rays, prescription drugs, rehabilitation services, and occupational or physical therapy. Injured individuals are entitled to compensation from parties responsible for the asbestos exposure, including asbestos manufacturers and construction companies. To determine if you are entitled to receive compensation for your mesothelioma injuries, contact an experienced mesothelioma lawyer.
If you developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos, the experienced Dover mesothelioma lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help. Located in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, we proudly serve individuals throughout the state, including those in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 302-656-5445 or submit an online inquiry form.