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Mesothelioma

Maritime Worker Exposure to Asbestos

Malignant mesothelioma is a specific, rare type of lung cancer that forms in the lining of the lungs and can spread to other organs. The most common cause of this type of cancer is exposure to the harmful substance asbestos. Asbestos is a manufactured material that is made up of silicate minerals. It was commonly used for manufacturing purposes because it was cheap and had a wide variety of uses. Mesothelioma is caused when a person inhales the fibers of asbestos. The substance has been phased out, but some traces are still used in products.

Asbestos was commonly used in shipyards. Harbor workers who dealt with the substance without the proper protective gear may have been exposed if they handle boilers, engines, and various ship parts that were manufactured or repaired with asbestos materials. Mesothelioma is a type of pleural disease because it affects the lining of the lungs which is called the "pleura." A majority of people who develop mesothelioma were exposed to it at the workplace. Occupational malignant mesothelioma is the most common type of the disease.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma, Asbestosis & Lung Cancer

Mesothelioma is a unique type of cancer in that patients typically do not notice signs until 20 to 50 years after initial exposure. Symptoms will also be incredibly similar to other illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and even asthma. Individuals usually experience pain in their chests, fluid in their lungs, heavy breathing, wheezing, coughing, and even coughing up blood. Mesothelioma can also, on rare occasions, affect the lining of the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma) and the lining of the heart (pericardial mesothelioma). Anyone who is experiencing unusual pain or illness and has reason to believe that they were exposed to asbestos should visit their doctor as soon as possible.

Since the early 1900s, asbestos has been considered an occupational health hazard but it was not phased out in the U.S. until the late 1980s. Unfortunately, since mesothelioma is typically not discovered until a long time after initial exposure, it may be in its later stages and may have spread to other organs when it is finally discovered. Based on standardized staging from the International Mesothelioma Interest Group, the cancer is staged based on a one to four basis.

Lung Cancer

Possible Treatments for Malignant Mesothelioma

There are a variety of treatments for mesothelioma. Doctors will choose treatments based upon the stage and aggressiveness of the cancer. Sometimes, surgery is used to eradicate the tumor. Many doctors will suggest surgery in conjunction with radiation or chemotherapy. Mesothelioma can often be resistant to radiation therapy as a treatment, but it may be helpful in conjunction with other treatments. Chemotherapy is listed as the only treatment that has actually proven to improve mesothelioma. There are other possible treatments as well as many advances being made in the medical field involving immunotherapy and stem cell therapy.

These treatments may prove to be helpful, but they are costly. If you believe that you were exposed to asbestos or a similar material at the workplace then you may be able to file a claim or lawsuit for compensation. This compensation can go toward covering your medical costs, among other things. Speak with an attorney who knows the maritime industry. Arnold & Itkin fights for offshore and harbor workers so that they can be protected.

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