Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer in the lining of the lungs and chest cavity. It is rare compared to other cancers, but like other types, there are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of a diagnosis.
Asbestos exposure is the only cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks and soil that was once widely used as an additive in many types of products. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
When asbestos fibers become airborne, they can be inhaled or ingested. Once they enter the body, they cannot leave, and they remain in the chest cavity irritating the surrounding tissue, forming scar tissue that can develop into tumors decades later. Most mesothelioma patients develop tumors in the pleura, which lines the lungs and the chest wall, but mesothelioma can also present in the peritoneum, the lining of the stomach and abdomen. Rare cases of mesothelioma infect the lining of the testes or the heart.
The use of asbestos has been heavily restricted since the 1980s. Prior to these restrictions, workers in many industries regularly handled asbestos products, such as construction, manufacturing, maritime, mechanics, and the armed forces. Due to the long latency period between exposure and tumor development, people who were exposed decades ago may still be diagnosed with mesothelioma. Families of workers in asbestos-prone industries also faced exposure risks, as the asbestos dust could travel home with them on their clothes.
Despite the restrictions, it is still possible to be exposed to asbestos. Asbestos may still be present in older buildings, including homes, offices, schools, and retail spaces. When these buildings are renovated or demolished, or things break due to normal wear and tear, asbestos dust can be released into the air.
In addition to asbestos, there are other factors that put patients at a higher risk, including age. Mesothelioma patients tend to be older, possibly due to the disease’s long latency period. There have been cases of patients younger than 45, but this is rare, and approximately two-thirds of mesothelioma patients are at least 65 years old. Mesothelioma is also much more common in men than in women, likely because of workplace exposures that occurred in historically male-dominated fields.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Attorneys at Shein Law Can Give You Legal Assistance After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis
If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, mesothelioma, or another asbestos-related illness, reach out to one of our Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at Shein Law. Our knowledgeable legal team understands the complexities of asbestos exposure cases. With offices located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we help mesothelioma patients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call 877-743-4652 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.