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The Iron Range is a part of Minnesota in the northeast region of the state that borders on Canada and Lake Superior and is rich with bands of iron ore.
Yet, many people in this beautiful area of the country are being diagnosed with mesothelioma, at a far greater rate in 2011 compared to previous reports, the Duluth News Tribune reports.
Mesothelioma lawyers have helped victims throughout the country, from the west coast to the east coast, deal with the effects of mesothelioma and the asbestos exposure that leads to the deadly diagnosis.
Often diagnosis comes decades later when a victim is in retirement; some fail to ever make the link between illness and exposure at work. Median survival time after diagnosis is about one year.
Health officials in Minnesota have reported that 63 people died of mesothelioma last year and another 19 have died in 2011. Death records checked in other states by former Iron Range residents who have since moved away has increased the number of cases.
The mesothelioma rate, experts believe, is higher than it should be. Researchers have been working since 2008 to try to find the link between the region and the deadly cancer.
Some believed early on that the asbestos came from workers who dealt with commercial asbestos, such as insulation and piping, furnaces and boilers. But some speculate that the asbestos came from taconite rock that was released during processing.
Lawmakers in 2008 approved a $4.9 million study to look into the issue and try to determine why so many people from that region are dying of the incurable cancer. Some results show that about 1,700 of the 46,000 workers who worked in that industry developed a form of lung cancer. It’s unclear what caused that cancer.
The five-part series includes an exposure assessment to determine where the asbestos came from, a mortality study to look at causes of death, a cancer study to see where cancer rates are higher, an environment study to look at what is in the air now and a respiratory health study of living taconite workers and their spouses.
Researchers will continue to figure out where the exposure came from and how to prevent future problems. But the number of mesothelioma cases is expected to soar as baby boomers hit the doors to retirement.
In many cases, military veterans are at high risk — particularly those who worked in shipyards, boiler rooms and other areas below deck, where asbestos was used in abundance because of its insulating and heat-resistant qualities. In other cases, contractors and subcontractors may be at fault for exposing workers to asbestos. Some of the nation’s largest mining and chemical corporations have lost million dollar court cases accusing them of hiding the risks of exposure faced by employees.
Mesothelioma can be particularly cruel because of the long wait and the fact that it often strikes a victim in retirement — robbing them and their family of too many good years.
Frequently Asked Questions: Mesothelioma & Asbestos
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a carcinogenic, naturally occurring fibrous mineral. Known for its heat resistance and durability, asbestos has historically been used in insulation, construction materials, automotive parts, and shipbuilding materials.
Why is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos is made up of small shard-like fibers that can easily become airborne when disturbed. If inhaled or ingested, these fibers can embed within the lining of the lungs, heart, stomach, or testes where they can cause cancer to form years or decades later.
What are asbestos-related diseases?
Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
What causes mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until decades after exposure.
What are the different types of mesothelioma?
Three of the most common types of mesothelioma are pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma.
What are common mesothelioma symptoms?
Common symptoms of mesothelioma include difficulty breathing and chest pains. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the stomach, may cause abdominal swelling, loss of appetite, constipation, abdominal pain, and nausea.
Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a preventable form of cancer most commonly caused by asbestos exposure. If you were exposed to asbestos while serving in the U.S. military or while working in construction, mechanics, or a similar field, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact The Ferraro Law Firm for a free legal consultation.
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 long-term medical treatment. After that, you should contact our firm to examine your legal rights. Since 1985, The Ferraro Law Firm has represented individuals with asbestos-related diseases and pursued fair compensation on their behalf. Our firm is one of the top five law firms in the U.S. handling mesothelioma and asbestos cases.
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