Mesothelioma is a very rare and aggressive form of lung cancer. Asbestos exposure is basically the only known cause. Back in the day, builders commonly used this natural mineral in ships, skyscrapers, churches, and even family homes. The tiny fibers are so small that about 20,000 of them can fit in the space between Abraham Lincoln’s nose and lips on a U.S. penny. Victims can easily inhale one of these fibers. These fibers are also small enough to absorb through the skin. In other cases, workers unintentionally carry these fibers home on their clothes, exposing their families to possible mesothelioma.
Rather than face aggressive Brainerd personal injury attorneys, many companies which used asbestos filed bankruptcy. Whether or not the negligent company is still in business, substantial compensation may be available.
Difficulties in Diagnosing Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma tumors form in the soft lining between the heart and lungs. The pressure creates symptoms like shortness of breath and coughing. These symptoms are rather generic. If blood or other tests indicate cancer, many doctors diagnose mesothelioma patients with non-small cell lung cancer. NSCLC is by far the most common type of lung cancer in the United States. It is also not very aggressive, so many times, doctors recommend conservative treatments. These treatments, while effective against NSCLC, are essentially useless against mesothelioma. So, the cancer continues to grow.
There are other difficulties as well. As mentioned, just one tiny asbestos fiber may trigger mesothelioma. So, a victim could walk by a construction or renovation worksite and inhale a fiber without ever knowing it. Symptoms may not appear for twenty to forty years. After so much time passes, it’s very difficult to trace mesothelioma to such a random incident.
So, by the time the victim receives an accurate diagnosis, the disease might already be at an advanced stage. At this point, mesothelioma is very difficult to treat.
Mesothelioma Treatment Options
The cancer mortality rate has dropped precipitously since 1991. Back then, a mesothelioma diagnosis was basically a death sentence. Since tumors form in the meso lining, they are difficult to remove. Additionally, they are so close to vital organs that other treatments are problematic.
But since then, standard cancer treatments have improved significantly. These improvements give hope to mesothelioma victims:
- Radiation: Before doctors try to remove tumors, they use radiation blasts to shrink them. Today’s radiation therapy treatments are much more targeted than they were thirty years ago. So, doctors know that they are shrinking tumors and not harming nearby organs.
- Surgery: Tools and technology have advanced so much that it’s easier to remove most or all of these tumors. Successful removal often leads to remission.
- Chemotherapy: These drugs kill cancer and other fast-dividing cells. Yesterday’s chemotherapy drugs had many side effects, so patients could only tolerate limited doses. That’s not true today, at least in most cases.
There are other emerging treatment options as well, such as gene therapy and phototherapy. Gene therapy, which usually includes stem cells, may actually reprogram cells so they are no longer cancerous. Phototherapy has shown tremendous promise in clinical trials.
Treatment options are available, even in cases like Stage III mesothelioma. But these treatments are quite expensive. That’s where a Brainerd personal injury attorney comes in. Attorneys help families obtain the financial resources they need to fight their illnesses and live their lives.
Brainerd Personal Injury Attorneys and Your Claim for Damages
Asbestos was legal in most parts of the United States until the early 1980s. Many people were exposed back then, but they are only now developing symptoms. Asbestos is a dangerous product. Its carcinogenic properties are very well known. So, the companies which used it in construction projects are strictly liable for damages. Victims typically need only prove cause. And, since asbestos is mesothelioma’s sole major cause, this showing is relatively easy to make.
Other victims can apply to asbestos trust funds. Collectively, there is about $30 billion in these funds. Once again, victims typically need only prove cause. However, trust fund managers are very stingy. The more money they pay, the less money they keep. So, most trust fund claimants need an assertive Brainerd personal injury attorney to ensure full compensation. Otherwise, victims may not have enough money to fight their diseases and live their lives.
Finally, many demolition and renovation companies do not take the proper precautions when they remove asbestos from old buildings. If their lack of care substantially caused injury, these firms are legally responsible for damages. In all three kinds of cases, these damages usually include money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. In many defective product cases, additional punitive damages may be available as well.
Reach Out to Tenacious Lawyers
Asbestos-induced mesothelioma is one of the most widespread mass torts in history. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd personal injury attorney, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.