What Is Mesothelioma

Maliganant mesothelioma, more commonly known as just mesothelioma, is a rare form of cancer that develops on the protective lining of the internal organs. This lining is known as mesothelium, hence the name of the cancer.

The most common cause of this type of cancer is exposure to asbestos particles in the air. The time between exposure and sickness can be as long as 20 to 50 years.


The symptoms of mesothelioma depend on the area where the cancer begins to grow. Shortness of breathing, coughing and sometimes chest pain are general symptoms. Chest pain is more associated with pleural mesothelioma.

The follow are symptoms that are associated with the development of pleural mesothelioma:

  • Chest wall pain
  • Pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
  • Wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
  • Fatigue or anemia
  • Blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up (hemoptysis)
  • Shortness of breath

Mesothelioma can also cause the development of tumors which can metastasize (spread) to other areas of the body. These tumors are most commonly found in the abdominal cavity and unfortunately do not cause any symptoms until they are well developed. Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • An abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen
  • Problems with bowel function
  • A mass in the abdomen
  • Weight loss

In severe cases of mesothelioma the following more serious symptoms can occur:

  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • Low blood sugar level
  • Pleural effusion
  • Blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
  • Blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
  • Severe ascites
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation, a disorder causing severe bleeding in many body organs


The most common cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Current research has shown asbestos to be indisputably associated with the development of mesothelioma.

In some rare cases mesothelima has been detected in people who have never had any known exposure to asbestos. In some uncommon cases mesothelioma has been associated with irradiation, intrapleural thorium dioxide and inhalation of other fibrous silicates.

Another cause recently discovered is that people with the germline mutation on their BAP1 gene have a higher predisposition to developing mesothelioma.

what is mesothelioma
History Of Mesothelioma

Starting the legal process of filing a claim:

  1. Get a clear diagnosis of your condition and follow it up with a second opinion. Ideally this should include a tissue biopsy or you can ask for a copy of the medical records & diagnostic documents.
  2. Write down when and where you believed you were exposed to asbestos
  3. Write down the name of the company that you were employed with at the time. Also include names of fellow colleagues that may have been exposed to asbestos on the same job.
  4. Although this can be a difficult step to take, preparing a will can prove to be crucial. It’s best to clearly identify which law firm is to represent your case and provide clarity for your family on how to proceed should anything happen to you. When people are disorganized you can have multiple lawyers and multiple family members trying to get involved and just ending up making the situation even worse.
  5. Once you select a lawyer, prepare an affidavit of the above critical facts in order to preserve your case.

General tips for selecting a legal representative for mesothelioma cases

Going through asbestos ligation can be a long, draining process. The following are some general tips you can follow to guide you through the process.

Selecting an attorney

The first and most crucial step is selecting an law firm/attorney that truly understands your needs. Ideally you should select a firm that has dealt with cases similar to yours. Although most lawyers know the right questions to ask and right things to do, it’s important you select someone who you feel comfortable communicating with.

Don’t limit yourself by only selecting an attorney in your area. It’s important to consider your case may not be filled in the state/country where you live. Consider all options geographically before making a decision.

Before selecting an attorney make sure:

  • They have experience filing claims with asbestos trust funds
  • They have proven track records with asbestos lawsuits ( winning settlements)
  • Can travel to you to gather information
  • Has the ability to evaluate your potential compensation before proceeding with the process.
  • A trustworthy attorney will never guarantee an outcome or settlement
    • They can only do the best they can with their knowledge and make knowledgeable approximations

Different types of mesothelioma lawsuits

There are two types of asbestos injury cases, personal injury claim or wrongful death suit.

A lawsuit filed by an individual suffering with asbestos directly is a personal injury claim.

A lawsuit filed by the family of someone who has passed away or is too ill to act on their own is a wrongful death suits.

Your attorney will help you understand your options in each situation. A person can be unknowingly exposed to asbestos by washing clothing that is contaminated for example. This would be called secondary exposure and your attorney should help you understand your options in this case.

Obtaining Compensation

Every claim is different, which is why it’s important you have a good attorney who treats your case as a new one. In all cases it’s important to save all your medical and financial records. Anything at all related to your treatment or illness needs to be saved.

Common expenses related to asbestos exposure:
  • Expenses not covered by insurance
  • Pain and suffering
  • Caregiver costs
  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Funeral expenses
  • Travel expenses for medical treatments

If you are preparing to file a case related to asbestos/mesothelioma to get what’s rightfully yours, the best thing you can do is prepare. Being knowledgeable and having quick access to facts, dates, testimonials and proof to back yourself up is the best thing you can do while preparing for this process.

Below is some additional reading you can do to prepare for mesothelioma litigation.

  1. Mesothelioma & Asbestos Litigation Trials
  2. Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits: What to Expect
  3. Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Posted by DME Library

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