After more than 40 years in the public consciousness as a public health risk, one might assume that illnesses and death from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases would be on the decline. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) findings reveal that mesothelioma was a contributing factor in the deaths of 45,200 U.S. citizens between the years 1999 and 2015. Annual deaths increased over that time by five percent, from 2,479 to 2,597.
With more information available to businesses over the past several decades, via entities like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the CDC had projected a decline in deaths related to mesothelioma, starting in 2005. The opposite result has left many experts scratching their heads, wondering why — with more safety regulations and more awareness in general — this disease is not in decline, as had been anticipated.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a tumor that attacks the tissue, called the mesothelium, surrounding major organs like the lungs, stomach and heart. Mesothelioma diagnoses are either categorized as benign, or non-threatening, or malignant, indicating a threatening case that will require fast and aggressive care.
People who are diagnosed with this serious type of cancer have usually worked with asbestos at some point, but it can take several years for the disease to develop and present symptoms.
Medical professionals, as well as safety experts, wonder why deaths are on the rise, in spite of decades of developed, adopted and implemented measures to reduce exposure to the material in various industries that pose higher risks, such as shipping, manufacturing and construction. Furthermore, consider the fact that asbestos has been heavily restricted or banned in most places, and it only adds to the mystery.
What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?
A few of the symptoms a mesothelioma sufferer might experience include:
- Pain beneath the rib cage
- Difficulty breathing
- Lumps, pain and swelling in the abdomen
- Unexplained and possibly rapid weight loss
Mesothelioma Is Difficult to Diagnose and Effectively Treat
One of the most distressing issues with diagnosing mesothelioma for physicians is that it expresses itself much like lung cancer. Between the long time for the disease to form and present systems, as well as the time it takes to distinguish it from lung cancer, mesothelioma is exceptionally difficult to effectively treat since it is often discovered at such an advanced stage.
Given the fact that the largest increase in mesothelioma deaths occurs in people 85 years and older, it shows that it can, and often does, take several years or decades to develop and begin presenting symptoms. The people in that age range were in their prime working age back when asbestos was more prominent and somewhat less understood for all its risks.
What Can You Do If You or a Loved One Has Been Diagnosed?
The cost of treating mesothelioma can be expensive, so it is important that you do your best to make sure you can afford the best possible treatment and other expenses. Seeking legal advice from a law firm that specializes in asbestos-related disease cases may be the best first step to make so you can determine whether you should file a lawsuit.
Law firms that were early on the scene, specializing in shaping asbestos litigation, began their commitment to this highly specialized area, have a history that goes as far back as the early 1970s. Such legal firms have even taken cases to the U.S. Supreme Court and will readily tell clients that a single mesothelioma settlement can easily spiral to several million dollars without the plaintiff ever needing to step into a courtroom.
Your legal team will take a few key considerations into account when determining your targeted settlement amount, such as the degree of negligence and liability of the company, the age of the plaintiff and whether he or she is alive or deceased, lost earnings due to inability to work and the care for minor children left behind.
Getting started is as simple as contacting an experienced asbestos-specific legal team for a complimentary consultation.