Mesothelioma is deadly but usually takes time to develop

Modern medicine offers many people facing a cancer diagnosis a fighting chance for remission. Certain cancers, however, are more aggressive and have lower survival rates than others.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the lining of the organs, often the lungs and causes debilitating symptoms. Currently, there is no cure for the disease. However, those with a mesothelioma diagnosis may seek medical treatment to extend their lives and reduce the symptoms like chronic coughs and chest pain.

What causes mesothelioma?

For a substantial number of people diagnosed with this rare but aggressive cancer, exposure to asbestos is the root cause of mesothelioma. Countless Americans experienced asbestos exposure as part of their daily work.

Mesothelioma takes years or even decades to fully develop. People may develop symptoms years after working around asbestos fibers. While they may not realize it at the time, exposure can lead to a very serious illness, malignant mesothelioma, years in the future.

Dangers of asbestos have been common knowledge for a long time

Unlike the correlation between tobacco and lung cancer, which was only established a few decades ago, people have known since the beginning of the 20th century that asbestos makes people seriously ill, even leading to death. That didn't stop all kinds of companies from including asbestos in their products. In fact, asbestos is still used in a number of materials in the U.S.

Common uses of asbestos include insulation, vehicle brakes and a host of commercial and industrial applications. Thousands of workers come into contact with it on a daily basis, including construction workers, auto mechanics, factory workers and firefighters.

What to do after a diagnosis

Because of the delay of the onset of the disease, it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint when and how someone was exposed. Other times, if it happened as a result of work, those with mesothelioma may know immediately when, where and how exposure occurred.

Those who develop cancers like mesothelioma as a result of their work career should explore legal options for compensation. There are victims' funds for those who have been diagnosed, and lawsuits could help provide payment of bills or access life-extending medical treatments.

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