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Mesothelioma, cancer and asbestos exposure: A question and answer session

1261208_old_ships_7.jpgAt the Ferraro Law Firm, our mesothelioma attorneys understand that cancer can be a devastating diagnosis. Unfortunately, when it comes to mesothelioma and asbestos exposure, misinformation often needlessly complicates the issue and can add unnecessary stress to the lives of families who are struggling to cope with a new reality.

Today we are going to look at some frequently asked questions about mesothelioma, as well as the best answers currently available through the National Cancer Institute.

What is mesothelioma and the mesothelium? As we reported in our blog “Mesothelioma and Asbestos: A Primer for Patients,” mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium, which is a membrane that covers most of the body’s internal organs. Frequently, this causes an invasion into nearby tissues and organs. The cancer can also metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body.

How common is mesothelioma? The number of mesothelioma cases has increased substantially in recent years. As we reported in “Diagnosis often Decades after Exposure,” the long incubation period means patients who were exposed 30 or 40 years ago are often just now being diagnosed. Currently, about 3,000 new cases are being diagnosed in the United States each year. The diagnosis appears more often in men than in women and the chances of being diagnoses increase with age.

What are the risk factors for mesothelioma? The overwhelming risk factor is exposure to asbestos, which was a popular material used in building, construction, and other industries through the first half of the 20th century. Asbestos was commonly used in hundreds of products from joint compounds, cements, brake linings, roof shingles, tiles, and many others.

In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis, and other cancers, including those of the colon and larynx.

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma? Symptoms do not generally appear until 30 to 50 years after a patient is exposed to asbestos. Symptoms may include weight loss, swelling of the abdomen and abdominal pain. Bowl obstruction, anemia, fever and blood clotting are also reported. If the cancer has spread, other symptoms may include swelling of the neck and face and trouble swallowing.

The Ferraro Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services to mesothelioma patients throughout the United States. Call (888) 554-2030 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.


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