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The federal government is proposing to add mesothelioma to the list of cancers covered by the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act.
Our mesothelioma lawyers want to inform sufferers that while this news is encouraging, those who are currently diagnosed with mesothelioma need to further explore their options. That’s because while there’s no question the dust and debris that blanketed New York City in the wake of the terrorist attacks could have caused dangerous cancers and breathing ailments, it’s only been 11 years. We say “only” because mesothelioma is notoriously slow-moving, but still fatal form of cancer. Asbestos exposure can take many decades to manifest itself as mesothelioma. Once it does, it is quickly deadly.
While there is no question that some mesothelioma victims may in fact have a legitimate claim for federal compensation, it’s likely (especially for older sufferers) that the illness, while exacerbated by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, is probably rooted in some earlier exposure to asbestos. In most cases, this exposure happens over an extended period of time, typically when an individual has worked for many years with airborne asbestos materials.
That said, some scientists have indicated that because of the high levels of toxins that were present in the air after the 9/11 attacks, that level of saturation could potentially cause the cancer’s formation to accelerate. Still, there hasn’t been a great deal of study.
It’s also important to note that while you may indeed be entitled to this compensation, it’s not clear exactly how much you’ll be able to claim. Our New York City mesothelioma lawyers understand the total amount of the funds available currently stands at $4.3 billion, and that those who qualify might be eligible for funding to cover their treatments.
We also know that this illness, while causing swift deterioration upon diagnosis, can be cripplingly expensive, and also deprives a family of an income-earning loved one. The financial impact to them for all of this can be devastating — not only for lost income, but also for costly healthcare related to this fatal form of cancer. That means if someone can prove their mesothelioma diagnosis may have been caused by some other exposure in addition to their inhaling of the toxins released during 9/11, they should seek legal counsel and pursue that claim as well – and the sooner the better.
Now at this point, there has simply been a proposal by the National Institute for Occupational Safety to cover mesothelioma – and roughly 50 other cancers – to the list of ailments that the compensation act would cover. It still has to be approved.
The proposal to include it came after several months of study and intense lobbying by firefighters, police officers, construction workers, office cleaners and others who became sick after working in the dust-cloud of 9/11. The study involved a panel of doctors, community advocates and union officials. Prior to this proposal, it was only agreed that those with certain, lesser ailments would be allowed to claim coverage. These would be individuals with acid reflux, asthma and chronic sinus irritation.
Expanding that list is not a decision that the agency is taking lightly, and there are still considerable practical and ethical questions to be addressed. For example, if someone does have mesothelioma, how can it be proven that their sickness is directly linked to 9/11 and not some earlier exposure? The answer is it probably can’t. It’s not clear yet how the agency would handle those types of claims.
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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.