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What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer primarily caused by exposure to asbestos. Symptoms may not appear for years if not decades after initial contact. If you believe you have contracted mesothelioma, contacting a doctor is critical in preventing any potentially harmful effects. Even though there is no cure for mesothelioma, there are treatment plans available to help you become better.

What Causes Mesothelioma?

Direct asbestos exposure is the main cause of mesothelioma. When inhaled, asbestos particles can make their way to different internal organs. Once permanently settled in a location, asbestos particles can become trapped within the mesothelium, or outer lining of internal organs. From there, the particles cause inflammation and scarring occurs over time until tumors begin to develop.

Another cause of mesothelioma is secondary asbestos exposure. An individual could unknowingly transfer asbestos particles on their body or clothes to other people. This typically happens when a person does not fully decontaminate themselves after working with asbestos.

If mesothelioma runs in your family history, your chances of getting the disease may be higher than most.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a carcinogen made up of six natural mineral fibers. Due to its ability to retain heat and resistance to fire, asbestos was commonly found in thousands of everyday products in the United States during the 20th century. Though regulation of asbestos has tightened in recent years, millions of people remain in close contact with asbestos on a daily occurrence. The more common areas where asbestos can be found today are in older homes and buildings, construction sites and shipyards.

If you believe that an area is contaminated with asbestos, contact a Houston asbestos lawyer and your local health and environmental officials for the proper set of procedures in finding the best way to handle the situation.

Different Types of Mesothelioma

There are four variations of mesothelioma:

Pleural Mesothelioma (lungs)

The most common form of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers develop on the outside lining of the pleura, a thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs. Once around the pleura, the asbestos can cause scarring and inflammation.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma (abdomen)

Peritoneal mesothelioma, the second most common form of mesothelioma, happens when asbestos fibers make their way down the bloodstream to the body’s abdomen. From there, inflammation and irritation damages cell DNA, causing cancer tumors to form.

Pericardial Mesothelioma (heart)

Pericardial mesothelioma is a rare form of mesothelioma. It occurs when asbestos particles entrap the lining of the pericardium, or the heart. Due to its similarity to other heart defects, pericardial mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose.

Testicular Mesothelioma (testicles)

Testicular mesothelioma is another rare form of mesothelioma. It is believed that testicular mesothelioma forms on the outside of the tunica vaginalis, causing the membrane to swell.

What Are Common Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

Typical symptoms of mesothelioma include but are not limited to:

  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Loss of breath
  • Nausea
  • Pain or lumps under the skin
  • Swelling or bloating
  • Drastic weight loss

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms above, call a doctor immediately.

Treatment for Mesothelioma

Choosing treatment for mesothelioma can be a difficult process, but making a plan of action with medical experts and loved ones is key in determining what suits best for your needs. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are just some types of treatment for mesothelioma among others.

Lear More About Your Legal Options

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to medical care and financial compensation. Set up a free consultation today with one of our Houston Mesothelioma attorneys. Together, we can get you the treatment and justice you deserve.