Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that develops in the tissue that covers most of the body’s internal organs — that tissue is called the mesothelium. Due to its aggressive nature, mesothelioma is generally a deadly type of cancer.
Exposure to asbestos, a microscopic fibrous mineral used in a variety of products, drastically increases a person’s risk of developing mesothelioma. Because asbestos is incredibly durable and resistant to fire and chemical reactions, it was used for many years in many different industrial and commercial industries, but is now considered a carcinogen. If asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can cling to the lung and inner cavity tissue linings, eventually causing serious health conditions.
Depending on which part of the body is affected, doctors divide mesothelioma into different types. Most often, mesothelioma manifests in the pleura, or tissue surrounding the lungs. Rare forms of mesothelioma include peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the abdominal tissue; pericardial mesothelioma, affecting the tissue surrounding the heart; and mesothelioma of tunica vaginalis, affecting the tissue surrounding the testicles.
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:
- Painful coughing
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abnormal tissue lumps beneath the skin
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include abdominal pain/swelling, abnormal tissue lumps in the abdomen, and unexplained weight loss.
Mesothelioma is typically diagnosed using a physical exam, chest X-ray, CT scan, or biopsy. While it is an aggressive form of cancer, there are treatments available, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and anticancer drugs.
If you were recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, it may be possible to seek compensation from your employer or another party responsible for your asbestos exposure. Contact an experienced Philadelphia asbestos lawyer to learn more.