What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a tumor of mesothelial tissue. Mesothelial tissue includes the pleura which envelopes the lungs and lines the chest cavity, the peritoneum which lines the abdomen, and the pericardium which surrounds the heart. Mesothelioma is usually malignant in nature. It is exceptionally rare except in cases of asbestos exposure - between 70% and 80% of persons diagnosed with mesothelioma can trace the condition to asbestos exposure. Approximately 75% of mesotheliomas begin in the chest cavity ("plerual mesothelioma"), with about 15% beginning in the abdomen ("peritoneal mesothelioma"). It is very unsual for a mesothelioma to begin in the pericardium.
Types of Mesothelioma include:
- Epithelioid Mesothelioma - This is the most survivable form, affecting the epithelioid cells. About 50 to 70 percent are of the epithelioid type.
- Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma - This form affects the sarcomatoid cells, and is less survivable.
- Mixed / Biphasic Mesothelioma - This form affects both the epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells, with the same prognosis as for sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
Initial symptoms of mesothelioma include chest pain, cough, and may include difficulty breathing associated with "pleural effusion", a build-up of fluid between the pleura and the chest cavity. Due to the nonspecific nature of the symptoms, there may be a delay in diagnosis, often in the range of three to six months. Even with advancements in treatment, mesothelioma is usually fatal within six to eighteen months from the date of diagnosis, and less than ten percent of patients surviving five years or more. It is thus important for people who have been exposed to asbestos to be vigilant about the possibility of developing mesothelioma, and to seek the most effective treatment options available. With early diagnosis and effective treatment a typical patient may survive for two or three years, with some living as long as five to ten years.
Asbestos litigation is premised upon the liability of manufacturers of abestos and asbestos products, for the harm caused by exposure to those products. It was once thought that asbestos litigation had peaked, but due to the fact that thirty or more years can pass before asbestos disease manifests itself, large numbers of new cases are filed each year. Many companies have been forced into bankruptcy since the litigation of these cases began.
Mesothelioma cases will typically be resolved within a year. Many of the firms which take these cases do so on a national level, and can often select the best state in which to file a lawsuit for a client who was exposed to asbestos at more than one location, commencing litigation in association with a local attorney. We have the very best affiliated attorneys in all parts of the country ready to help you in your case.