Mesothelioma Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer you could be entitled to significant compensation from both the Asbestos Trust Funds and asbestos product manufactures.

Contact us now for a FREE consultation.

Free Case Review

Mesothelioma Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer you could be entitled to significant compensation from both the Asbestos Trust Funds and asbestos product manufacturers.

Contact us now for a FREE consultation.

Free Case Review

Mesothelioma Cancer: Symptoms, Prognosis
& Treatments

Mesothelioma cancer is rare and aggressive, with an average life expectancy ranging from 18 to 31 months. The only known risk factor for developing mesothelioma cancer is asbestos exposure.

Because of the danger of asbestos, there are opportunities to file a lawsuit or get compensation from trust funds to cover the medical expenses and other costs associated with a mesothelioma diagnosis.

What Is Mesothelioma?

A type of cancer, mesothelioma, develops in the lining of particular bodily tissues. The two most common types of mesothelioma cancers are pleural and peritoneal.

Pleural mesothelioma develops in the lung lining, while peritoneal affects the lining of the abdomen. Two other types are rarer: pericardial, which affects the heart’s lining, and testicular.

What Is Mesothelioma?

A type of cancer, mesothelioma, develops in the lining of particular bodily tissues. The two most common types of mesothelioma cancers are pleural and peritoneal.

Pleural mesothelioma develops in the lung lining, while peritoneal affects the lining of the abdomen. Two other types are rarer: pericardial, which affects the heart’s lining, and testicular.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Like many other forms of cancer, the symptoms of mesothelioma may initially be unnoticeable. Symptoms may not occur until the cancer has become more severe or spread to other parts of the body. 
Even when you experience symptoms, they may be nonspecific, which is true of many forms of cancer.

Pleural mesothelioma can cause symptoms

Chest pain, especially
under the rib cage

Shortness of breath

Coughing

Fatigue

Unexplained weight loss

Lumps under the
skin of your chest

 Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma 

Abdominal pain

Swelling

Nausea

Fatigue

Unexplained weight loss

Types of Mesothelioma

Four types of mesothelioma are diagnosed based on tumor location, with malignant pleural mesothelioma being the most common. Then, from there, mesothelioma can be further categorized based on the cell types making up the tumor.

Mesothelioma cell types are:

In this form of the disease, the cells are epithelioid. They look like epithelial cells in the skin and other tissues. This form is the most common mesothelioma cell type and responds better to treatment than the other cell types.

The tumors are made up of sarcomatoid cells that resemble sarcoma cells. They are spindle-shaped, and it’s sometimes difficult to confirm this diagnosis. Around 10-20% of all diagnosed mesothelioma cases are the sarcomatoid cell type, which ironically often responds better to immunotherapy compared to chemotherapy.

In this mesothelioma cell type, the tumors comprise a combination of both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells.

What Causes
Mesothelioma?

As mentioned, the only currently known risk factor for developing this rare cancer is asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a material that’s now banned in the United States, but the mineral was frequently used in various applications before 1980. People were most often exposed through their jobs. Working with materials containing asbestos would release tiny fibers that aren’t visible into the air.

Workers swallowing or breathing in these fibers over the years are at risk for developing mesothelioma. Not everyone with exposure will get this cancer, but if it’s a concern you have, you should speak to your doctor.

Along with asbestos exposure at work, you could have lived with someone who worked with the material. You might have lived or worked in a building with asbestos, or you could live in an area with natural asbestos deposits.

There is a very long latency period between asbestos exposure and the development of mesothelioma. The latency period is the time between an initial exposure to asbestos and a diagnosis of mesothelioma. It can be 10 to 50 years, with many factors affecting the timeline.

The median latency period is 32 to 34 years. In rare situations, the latency period can be fewer than ten years or more than 70 years. One study found that 96% of mesothelioma cases have a latency period lasting at least 20 years.

The latency period is long because the fibers in the body cause inflammation where they settle, which can create biological responses that trigger cancer development. Cells can protect against some genetic changes, but it could be that having asbestos in the body for long periods allows the fibers to penetrate all the protective layers of the cells.

The median latency period is 32 to 34 years. In rare situations, the latency period can be fewer than ten years or more than 70 years. One study found that 96% of mesothelioma cases have a latency period lasting at least 20 years.

The latency period is long because the fibers in the body cause inflammation where they settle, which can create biological responses that trigger cancer development. Cells can protect against some genetic changes, but it could be that having asbestos in the body for long periods allows the fibers to penetrate all the protective layers of the cells.

The Diagnostic Process for Mesothelioma Cancer

If a person has symptoms of mesothelioma or known asbestos exposure, their healthcare provider may suspect the condition and want to do a full workup required for a diagnosis.

Some of the tests that are used for a diagnosis include

These tests include X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. These scans can help identify whether tumors are present and, if so, their location. Imaging can be a way to determine the progression of mesothelioma as well. All the types of scans are different from one another regarding their benefits and limits, so more than one imaging test is likely to be used.

If there’s pleural fluid found, also known as pleural effusion, which can sometimes be found on a chest X-ray or CT scan, the fluid may be drained. That would be done with an aspiration using an ultrasound-guided needle. The goal of the fluid aspiration is to exclude other possible causes of a fluid buildup rather than to confirm the mesothelioma diagnosis.

Biopsies can be taken from the chest wall under local anesthesia using ultrasound or CT guidance or using a small camera between the lung and the wall of the chest. A tissue sample is taken during the biopsy. Then, a pathologist can analyze it to diagnose mesothelioma and its type. Your doctor may do further tests to learn more about how far the cancer has progressed if the biopsy comes back positive.

Once mesothelioma is confirmed with a biopsy, your doctor might do a positron-emission tomography (PET) scan to see if other areas are affected by the cancer or a chest CT. Other biopsies might be required if it appears the cancer has spread.

The Stages of Mesothelioma

Staging is done during the diagnosis of mesothelioma, and it refers to tests to figure out how far the cancer has spread. There are different staging systems, the most common being the tumor node metastasis staging system.

In stage 1 mesothelioma, the cancer remains confined to localized areas. There are more options for aggressive treatments early on, and life expectancy can range from 21 months to more than 5 ½ years if you’re stage 1 and receive treatment.

Stage 2 mesothelioma means the cancer has spread to lymph nodes and organs that are nearby, but aggressive treatment may still be an option. Life expectancy is relatively similar to stage 1.

Stage 3 mesothelioma indicates the cancer has spread to tissue and organs that are further from the original tumor site, limiting treatment options. Life expectancy for stage 3 mesothelioma can range from 16 months to almost five years if you receive treatment.

Stage 4 mesothelioma is when it’s spread to distant tissue and organs. In this scenario, most treatment options are palliative and aimed primarily at increasing comfort. Life expectancy at stage 4 can range from 12 to 26 months.

While we hear estimates for life expectancy and survival rate, everyone’s prognosis will depend on individual factors. Overall, treatment does help the prognosis, and when you work with a mesothelioma specialist, they can create a tailored treatment plan.

Mesothelioma Treatment

While mesothelioma isn’t generally considered curable, it can be treated and managed, especially if identified in its earlier stages.
Treatment options may include a combination of strategies known as multimodal plans. These offer the best outcomes in terms of survival. Specific treatments include:

Surgery is used to remove cancerous tissue. Surgery can be used at different stages, although in later stages, it’s primarily to improve comfort rather than having a therapeutic purpose.

Chemotherapy drugs kill cancerous cells as well as preventing them from multiplying. Cisplatin or carboplatin with pemetrexed are usually the first-line methods in mesothelioma cases.

Radiation is a cancer treatment that damages or kills cancerous cells with the use of energy.

Immunotherapy is a way to help your body find and combat cancer cells. A combination of Opdivo and Yervoy is currently used for pleural mesothelioma, and clinical trials are ongoing.

Research seeks new, emerging treatment methods like gene therapy, TTFields, and photodynamic therapy. CAR T-cell therapy is also being looked at for mesothelioma. This is a treatment where your immune cells are programmed to help them recognize and fight cancerous cells. Once programmed in a lab setting, they’re returned to you. You can access these treatments through clinical trials.

Compensation After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Treatments for mesothelioma can be expensive, even with insurance. There are direct costs and indirect expenses that often accompany a cancer diagnosis as well, such as travel time, time off work, or lost income. If you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s essential to contact a lawyer specializing in asbestos cases as soon as you can.

At our firm, the only injuries we focus on are related to asbestos exposure. Along with it being our area of specialty, we’re experts at winning compensation for our clients who became ill because of asbestos exposure.

We can file a claim on your behalf against the asbestos manufacturer, and we have investigative professionals who can do the research needed to link your exposure and your diagnosis. Dozens of trust funds were established by asbestos companies going through bankruptcy in the 1980s to compensate victims.

We can identify trust funds you might be eligible for. Reach out today for a free consultation—there’s no upfront cost. We’re only paid if you receive compensation.

Free Case review

Fill out the form below and get your free case review

MENU