Mesothelioma is a serious form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos dust, particles, and fibers. Symptoms of mesothelioma can lie dormant for up to 50 years. Although the highest incidence of mesothelioma occurs in workers exposed to asbestos, others may be exposed outside the workplace.
Asbestos was often used as insulation in older homes. Remodeling projects can shake loose asbestos fibers and dust, causing them to become airborne, where they can be inhaled. Because of this, mesothelioma has been found when individuals were exposed to asbestos during remodeling projects in older homes, usually ones built prior to 1970.
What Happens When Asbestos Fibers Enter Your Lungs?
The mesothelium is a protective tissue that lines the lungs and other vital organs. When asbestos is inhaled, asbestos fibers interact with mesothelial cells and cause tumors to form. This happens when asbestos fibers wrap around the chromosomes, causing mutation. The mutation can result in immunosuppressive disorders, which stop white blood cells from killing tumor cells. The mesothelial mutation allows foreign DNA to enter the cells.
The introduction of foreign DNA causes cells to have only one chromosome where there should be two, which constitutes a gene abnormality. This rapidly increases the odds of forming tumors. Mesothelioma can also be found in the abdominal cavity. The same type of membrane that protects the lungs is present in the organs of the abdomen, and it is this membrane that mesothelioma attacks. Mesothelioma in the abdominal cavity is not as common as mesothelioma in the chest, but it does occur.
Symptoms of the cancer in the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall can include chest pain, fluid around the lungs, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and anemia. Coughing up blood, wheezing, and hoarseness can also be symptoms of mesothelioma in the chest cavity. Mesothelioma cancer can also be found in the protective membrane lining the abdominal cavity. When the mesothelial cells of the chest cavity are exposed to asbestos, they mutate ans form cancer cells. Symptoms may include bowel difficulties, swelling and pain in the abdominal area, and weight loss.
Diagnosis of Mesothelioma Cancer
Mesothelioma cancer is diagnosed through surgical biopsy. A surgical biopsy requires a surgeon or oncologist to remove a sample of the suspected tissue for examination in a laboratory. The biopsy is done in different ways, depending on the affected part of the body. If the sample is needed from the lung area, a small incision is made in the chest wall, and a thoracoscope (a thin, lit tube with a camera on the end) is inserted between two ribs, allowing the doctor to look inside the chest cavity and extract a tissue sample.
A biopsy for mesothelioma cancer in the abdomen is done with a peritoneoscope. For this procedure (known as peritoneoscopy), the abdomen cavity is inflated with gas, and a small incision is made to insert the scope. The doctor can then take a sample of tissue while examining the abdominal cavity.
Protecting Mesothelioma Victims
Seeking medical attention is the first thing you should do if you have any symptoms of mesothelioma. If your doctor diagnoses you with mesothelioma, the next thing you should do is contact our Houston legal team at Arnold & Itkin. Mesothelioma is a life-altering disease requiring extensive care, and it is difficult to find those responsible. You need a driven, experienced team to successfully file claims against at-fault parties and seek the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers know the devastation of a mesothelioma diagnosis, and we can make your voice heard in court.
Call Arnold & Itkin today for your free consultation. We’ve won billions of dollars for the injured. We’re more than happy to hear your story and lay out your legal options. Dial (888) 493-1629 today.