You likely know that asbestos is dangerous, but what is it exactly? How does asbestos endanger your health, and what are your legal rights if you have been exposed? The asbestos lawyers at The Ferraro Law Firm have answered your most frequently asked questions about asbestos and mesothelioma below.

For years, too many companies ignored research showing that asbestos causes cancer and continued to endanger their workers by exposing them to asbestos. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact The Ferraro Law Firm for a free legal consultation to learn more about your legal options.

Here are some frequently asked questions about mesothelioma.

What causes mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. If inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers can lodge within the linings of the lungs, heart, stomach, or testes and cause cancer cells to form. Unfortunately, symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 20 or even 50 years after exposure.

If you were exposed to asbestos and are experiencing common mesothelioma symptoms like chest pain and difficulty breathing, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

If I am exposed to asbestos once, will I get mesothelioma?

asbestos dust with safety goggles and mask

Health risks associated with short-term exposure to asbestos are generally low.

According to the American Cancer Society, the risk of developing mesothelioma is small if you have only been exposed to asbestos one time. Individuals exposed at an early age, for extended periods of time, or with higher levels of exposure are more likely to develop mesothelioma.

Still, short-term exposures add up, and the more you have been exposed, the more you are at risk.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact us today for a FREE consultation. You won’t pay unless we win.

Who is most at risk of developing mesothelioma?

The risk of developing mesothelioma increases with age and is rare in people under the age of 45. However, young people can develop the disease as well. The American Cancer Society estimates that 2 out of 3 people diagnosed with mesothelioma are 65 and older.

Men are more at risk for developing mesothelioma than women since men are more likely to work jobs that have higher rates of exposure, including construction, auto mechanics, and service in the U.S. military.

Is my health at risk if my home has asbestos?

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the mere presence of asbestos in your home is not dangerous. Asbestos-related hazards develop as the materials in the home become damaged over time. It is when the material becomes damaged that it releases the hazardous asbestos fibers that put your health at risk.

If you suspect that you may have materials and insulation containing asbestos inside your home and the material is in good condition, leave it alone!

If the material is damaged or if you plan to remodel your home soon, you should contact a certified asbestos-removal professional to safely repair or remove the material as soon as possible.

Is mesothelioma rare?

The American Cancer Society reports that mesothelioma is fairly rare in the United States, with approximately 3,000 new cases diagnosed each year. However, given how aggressive and devastating a mesothelioma diagnosis is, this number is alarmingly high.

What are the different types of mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Three of the most common types of mesothelioma are pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma.

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of mesothelioma, affecting 85% of all mesothelioma patients. It develops in the mesothelial lining of the lungs, known as the pleura, and is often accompanied by a dry cough and difficulty breathing.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is rarer and only makes up less than 20% of mesothelioma cases. This type of mesothelioma develops on the lining of the abdomen. Initial symptoms include abdominal pain, abdominal distension, swelling or tenderness around the abdomen, and constipation or diarrhea.

Pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, the lining of the heart, and can lead to the thickening of the pericardium. This type of mesothelioma accounts for only about one-tenth of all annual cases of mesothelioma and is the rarest form of mesothelioma. Patients may experience chest pain, abnormal heart rhythms, and difficulty breathing.

What are common mesothelioma symptoms?

Initial symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include wheezing, chest pain, dry cough, and difficulty breathing. Due to the relatively common symptoms, pleural mesothelioma may be misdiagnosed as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or other lung conditions.

Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Weight loss
  • Hernias
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Abdominal fluid buildup
  • Bowel obstruction

Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and chest pains.

How is mesothelioma typically treated?

While there is no reliable cure for mesothelioma, there are treatments that can significantly extend the initial prognosis. Treatment will vary depending on what type of mesothelioma the patient has and the stage of the cancer. Three of the most common treatments for mesothelioma are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Surgery may be recommended for patients with earlier stages of mesothelioma since the cancer has likely not spread yet. Surgery may be performed to remove mesothelioma tumors and fluid buildup around the lungs or heart.

In addition to surgery, a patient may receive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma are commonly treated with a combination of the chemotherapy drugs cisplatin and pemetrexed. A relatively successful treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma is called heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). It is typically administered directly into the abdominal cavity immediately after surgery to help kill remaining cancer cells.

Radiation therapy may help reduce the pain of mesothelioma by shrinking tumors and stalling tumor growth. Radiation is a non-invasive process that targets the cancer with high-energy rays. While it can be effective, radiation can also be toxic to organs and damage DNA. Therefore, radiation is only sparingly used with specific types of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma therapists usually suggest a multimodal approach to combatting the disease, which utilizes multiple types of treatment and has proven to be more effective than exclusively using one of the three aforementioned methods. To effectively use a multimodal approach, the primary treatment is used in conjunction with a helper treatment, as is the case with surgery and chemotherapy.

Another example of this approach might use all three of these treatments:

  • Radiation to shrink the tumor
  • Surgery to remove it
  • Chemotherapy to kill the remaining cells

If you are being treated for mesothelioma, you may qualify for compensation for your medical expenses. The mesothelioma attorneys at The Ferraro Law Firm can help you recover compensation to ease your financial burdens. Our firm is one of the top five asbestos law firms in the country, and we have the experience and skills to capably represent you throughout each phase of litigation.

What is the life expectancy for someone with mesothelioma?

There is no cure for mesothelioma. However, patients can receive treatments for mesothelioma that may extend their initial prognosis with proper treatment.

Those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma usually have a life expectancy that is greater than three years, though a large part of this depends on the stage the patient is diagnosed. The earlier the diagnosis, the longer the life expectancy and chance of long-term survival.

Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should immediately seek qualified medical treatment. After that, you should contact our firm to examine your legal rights. If you were unnecessarily exposed to asbestos without the proper safety protections in place, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of wages, and more.

Since 1985, The Ferraro Law Firm has represented individuals with asbestos-related diseases and pursued billions of dollars in compensation on their behalf. Our firm is one of the top five law firms in the U.S. handling mesothelioma and asbestos cases.

What is an asbestos trust fund?

An asbestos trust fund is a fund created by a negligent company that has since gone bankrupt. The funds were established to ensure that future asbestos-related claims could still be compensated. Victims that were exposed to asbestos because of the company’s negligence may obtain money for their losses by filing a claim.

If the company that caused my asbestos exposure has since declared bankruptcy, can I still obtain compensation?

Yes. An asbestos-trust fund is established by the bankruptcy courts when a negligent company goes bankrupt. This fund allows an individual to file a claim for compensation with the trust fund instead of against the company.

Our experienced attorneys can provide guidance on whether or not you qualify for an asbestos trust fund and if so, they can help you navigate the legal process. Contact The Ferraro Law firm today for a FREE consultation.

I was exposed to asbestos while serving in the military. Can I still file a mesothelioma lawsuit?

Many veterans have developed cancer, mesothelioma, or other lung problems due to excessive asbestos exposure during their service in the United States military, particularly the U.S. Navy. These veterans may qualify to file a claim for VA disability compensation.

About one-third of those diagnosed with mesothelioma are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that of the 25 million living veterans today, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, were exposed to asbestos during their military service.

Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma may have been exposed to asbestos on one of the following:

  • Aircraft carriers
  • Auxiliary vessels
  • Destroyers
  • Frigates
  • Submarines
  • Cruisers
  • Battleships

These military vehicles were built with asbestos-containing materials, and military members often inhaled the fibers. Thousands of veterans have suffered asbestos-related sickness from the exposure.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos during military service, you may be entitled to financial compensation through the VA. Contact The Ferraro Law Firm to learn more.

My spouse recently died from mesothelioma. Do I qualify for compensation?

If your spouse filed a lawsuit before their death, the claim becomes a part of the estate, and the estate representative makes the legal decisions related to the suit. The estate representative is usually the surviving spouse or child.

If no lawsuit was filed before your spouse died, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit seeks compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, and loss of support.

We are here to help you during this difficult time. Contact The Ferraro Law firm today for a FREE consultation.

Why Choose The Ferraro Law Firm?

Our skilled lawyers have represented more than 20,000 clients with various types of mesothelioma and asbestos-related illnesses. Since 1985, our firm has recovered over $1 billion on behalf of our clients. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, do not wait! Sign up for a free case evaluation with The Ferraro Law Firm online or by calling (888) 554-2030.