May is National Cancer Research Month -- mesothelioma

Every year, numerous Tennessee residents are diagnosed with cancer. As May is National Cancer Research Month, it seems an appropriate time to talk about one type of cancer in particular -- mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is generally caused by exposure to toxic substances, such as asbestos. It is a cancer for which there is no cure, but researchers are hopeful that there will be.

Mesothelioma occurs in the mesothelium, which is a thin tissue layer surrounding most internal organs. There are different types of this cancer, but the most common is called pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs. Those with this form of the disease often experience:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss
  • Coughing
  • Noticeable lumps on the chest

Those most likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma are people who work in fields where they are frequently exposed to asbestos fibers, such as construction workers, plumbers, electricians, mechanics and insulators -- among various others. Of course, individuals in other fields of employment may be unknowingly exposed, as may the average consumer. As many people know, asbestos has been found in commonly used products such as make-up and talcum powder.

Mesothelioma, while extremely aggressive, takes years, if not decades, to develop. When it is found, it is often at an advanced stage and difficult to treat. However, thanks to medical research, there are treatments available to help prolong life and make cancer patients more comfortable. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, some Tennessee residents may struggle to access these treatments. Under certain circumstances, through personal or class action civil suits, legal counsel may be able to assist mesothelioma patients in seeking compensation for their losses, which, if achieved, will allow them to get the care they need, among other things.

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