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Texas Mesothelioma Lawyer

What is Mesothelioma?

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Mesothelioma is a cancer that develops in the protective lining around the organs in the body. It most commonly affects the outer lining of the lungs, but can also appear in other parts of the body. The cancer develops over time, and may not appear for decades after exposure.

Mesothelioma affects those who have been exposed to asbestos, most often at work, as the substance was once in common use in many industries in the United States.

Causes of Mesothelioma

There is one – and only one – known cause of mesothelioma: exposure to asbestos fibers. This form of cancer develops over decades. Many people who worked in various trades were exposed to asbestos and may decades later begin experiencing the symptoms of this deadly cancer.

Mesothelioma Types

There are four forms of mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly type of cancer:

pleural
Pleural mesothelioma
The most common type of mesothelioma is called pleural mesothelioma, and develops in the lining of the lungs.
peritoneal
Peritoneal mesothelioma
This form of mesothelioma is the second most common. It develops in the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal cavity in the human body.
pericardial
Pericardial mesothelioma
This form of the cancer develops in the tissue surrounding the heart, and is a more rare form of the disease.
testicular
Testicular mesothelioma
Another rare form of this deadly cancer occurs when the disease forms in the lining of the testicles.

Mesothelioma Stages

Unfortunately, mesothelioma is most frequently diagnosed at an advanced stage when it is no longer possible to perform surgery to remove the affected tissue.

As the disease develops over many years – often between 20 to 50 years from the time of exposure to asbestos – the early symptoms may be attributed to another disease or condition. The final diagnosis frequently comes far beyond the point at which it may have been more easily treated.

The stages include:

stage1
Stage I mesothelioma
Stage I mesothelioma is when there are few tumors, or the disease has not yet advanced to the point at which tumors have formed. At this stage, treatment could be effective for extending life. The disease is rarely diagnosed at stage I.
stage2
Stage II mesothelioma
When mesothelioma has advanced to stage II, the cancer has not spread a long distance from the initial site, but small tumors have begun to form in the tissue beneath the lungs. Surgery to remove the affected tissue can prolong the life of the patient, but the age of the patient is usually a factor in choosing surgery as treatment.
stage3
Stage III mesothelioma
At stage III, surgical intervention may still be possible. The tumors have now spread and are present throughout the lining of the lungs, most often on one side of the body. They may now be affecting other parts of the body, including the lining of the heart, the chest wall, the tissues surrounding the area in which the cancer is growing and the lymph nodes.
stage4
Stage IV mesothelioma
This is the most advanced stage of this deadly form of cancer. At this stage, it has often spread throughout the chest cavity and may be present in other organs besides the lungs. The disease can no longer be treated with surgery, and the focus will be on managing pain and improving the symptoms suffered by the patient. The blood may also be affected, leading to other serious medical conditions.

Mesothelioma Life Expectancy for Each Stage

Prognosis for stage I – It is fairly rare for mesothelioma to be found and diagnosed in the early stages, but if found, there are better treatment options that may be effective. The survival rate, on an average, is about 3 years, with some patients living far longer and some dying much earlier. The ability to halt the cancer has advanced, and there is more hope for patients who are diagnosed at stage I to live much longer than was possible in the past. Some may have a full recovery and live a full life after the cancerous tissue has been removed and the patient treated with chemo and radiation.

Prognosis for stage II – Surgical removal of cancerous tissue is often effective in prolonging life, and is used in conjunction with other treatments such as chemo and radiation. The side of the lungs affected will be removed, as well as of the other areas that have been invaded by the disease. Life expectancy is reduced at stage II, but some patients may live several years beyond the time of the initial diagnosis.

Prognosis for stage III – There is a far shorter life expectancy for those diagnosed at stage III, and if surgery is performed, it may be to assist the patient to suffer fewer symptoms. There is far less hope of recovery from stage III mesothelioma, and the patient may live several months or longer, based upon general health and age.

Prognosis for stage IV – The focus will be on reducing pain and symptoms, as there are no treatments available that are currently capable of eradicating the spread of cancer. As this particular form of cancer, although slow to become active, once it has developed it is aggressive and difficult to treat. The prognosis for survival is very low at stage IV.

Mesothelioma Symptoms

The symptoms that could indicate that the disease is developing, particularly for those who have worked in industries in which asbestos was used, such as plumbing, electrical work, construction, shipyards and other vocations, can include the following:

  • Chest pain (under rib cage).

  • Painful coughing.

  • Unusual tissue lumps under the skin of the chest, abdomen or testicles.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Abdominal pain.

  • Abdominal swelling.

  • Unexplained weight loss.


Traditional Mesothelioma Treatment Options

The treatment for mesothelioma will be based on the stage of the disease and the general health of the patient, as well as age. The various types of treatments that could extend life after a diagnosis include:

surgery
Surgery – Surgery may be undertaken to reduce fluid build-up in the chest, allowing the patient to breathe better. Other surgical treatments may remove the cancerous tissue lining the ribs and lungs, or around the abdominal cavity, relieving the symptoms. “De-bulking” is the term used in the medical profession when surgery is attempted to remove as much of the cancer as possible. More radical surgeries include the removal of a lung lobe and surrounding tissue that has been affected by mesothelioma.
chemotherapy
Chemotherapy – Chemicals can be used to kill cancer cells. The treatment affects the whole system, with the chemical travelling throughout the body to attempt to shrink or slow the growth of the cancer cells. In some cases, the chemical treatment is applied directly to the abdominal cavity, with the goal of not injuring other cells in the healthier parts of the body. Stronger doses of chemo drugs can be used in this treatment.
radiation
Radiation – High-energy beams such as X-rays are administered to specific locations of the body in which tumors are present. This treatment may also be used after a biopsy to reduce the chances of the mesothelioma cancer cells from travelling and spreading to the incision location.

Compensation for Mesothelioma Patients in Texas

If you or a loved one has mesothelioma, you may have the legal right to pursue compensation from those who were responsible for the illness. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, wrongful death and other losses.

Let the law offices of Kraft & Associates, P.C., advise you about your legal rights as a mesothelioma victim. We’re an established and professional law firm with friendly lawyers and staff who are easy to talk to. Call us at (214) 999-9999 or contact us online for a free consultation and claim evaluation.

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