What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer only caused by exposure to asbestos. These cancer cells develop in the protective lining that covers most of the body’s internal organs. Once these cells divide, they can be invasive and damage other tissues and organs, making mesothelioma a dangerous and deadly disease.

Since mesothelioma is only caused by asbestos exposure, it is also 100% preventable.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to significant compensation that can help pay for your medical bills and other treatments. Contact a mesothelioma lawyer at The Barnes Firm today for a FREE legal consultation.

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What Causes Mesothelioma?

Most of those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma worked in places where they could unknowingly inhale asbestos fibers. The types of workers most likely to have come into contact with asbestos include steel workers, construction workers, pipe-fitters, demolition workers, asbestos insulators, laborers, railroad workers, automobile and heavy machinery mechanics, people who lived near to asbestos factories, and family members through second hand exposure.

In some cases, asbestos fibers could become entrapped in a worker’s clothing and passed on to family members at home. Washing a worker’s clothes, for example,  can increase risk of developing mesothelioma.

Stages of Mesothelioma

There are four main stages of mesothelioma:

Stage I – Mesothelioma cells start to grow and spread over a single layer of the pleura (the membrane that lines the lungs and chest).

Stage 2 – Mesothelioma cells are now impacting two layers of the pleura. Fluid can begin to build up between membranes.

Stage 3 – Mesothelioma cells have now spread to nearby organs, including the chest wall, esophagus and lymph nodes. This can cause severe pain.

Stage 4 – Mesothelioma cells have now moved into the bloodstream, and they’re affecting other organs, including the brain.

By the time mesothelioma is diagnosed, patients are usually already in the later stages of the disease, and may require palliative care.

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Mesothelioma Symptoms

Symptoms of Mesothelioma do not immediately manifest. Instead, it could take years – up to 50 – for the symptoms to become noticeable. However, the first symptoms of mesothelioma may include the following:

  • shortness of breath
  • coughing
  • inability to sleep
  • difficulty swallowing
  • pain in chest or abdomen
  • fluid in the chest, lungs, or abdomen
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite


When you or your doctor suspect asbestos exposure could have caused your recent symptoms, a complete medical review should be performed. This review could include chest x-rays, MRIs and lung function tests. If any of these tests show signs of mesothelioma, a patient may need to take a biopsy.

What is a Biopsy?

A small sample of tissue is removed from the patient’s body and examined under a microscope. This examination can often assist in diagnosis the diagnosis of mesothelioma.

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Types of Treatment

Surgery – In the later stages of mesothelioma, it can be very difficult to remove the cancer-causing cells, and palliative surgery may be the best option. Palliative surgery does not treat mesothelioma, but it can ease any pain the patient may be suffering, and improve their quality of life.

Chemotherapy – This type of treatment uses chemicals to kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs can be administered for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Treating cancers that respond well to chemotherapy
  • Decrease the size of tumors
  • Used in conjunction with other treatments, such as radiation therapy
  • Controls the cancer to improve a patient’s quality of life

Radiation Therapy – This is the use of radiation to kill or shrink tumors. However, radiation therapy can cause damage to both cancer cells and normal, healthy cells. This type of therapy must be precise in order to kill as many cancer cells as possible, while limiting any harm to nearby tissues and organs.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and would like more information about the disease, or your legal options to obtain compensation, contact The Barnes Firm for a FREE case consultation.


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