The use of asbestos has been widespread for centuries, as even the ancient Greeks and Romans prized the building material due to its utility as an insulator and resistance to fire. However, for just as long, exposure to asbestos has been shown to cause significant health issues, as Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder observed that those exposed to the dangerous material often became sick.
By the mid-1960s, the serious consequences of asbestos exposure had become much more clear, and it was proven that the inhalation of the dangerous mineral fibers could cause asbestosis, lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer. With these discoveries, more and more people who feel they unknowingly inhaled the fibers in the workplace have begun to contact a mesothelioma attorney to see if any legal action can be taken.
According to the National Cancer Institute, malignant mesothelioma occurs when cancerous cells are discovered in the mesothelium, "a protective sac that covers most of the body's internal organs."
Mesothelioma itself refers to the disease in which the mesothelium "become abnormal and divide without control to order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs," according to the Institute.
Despite the fact that mesothelioma is still considered a relatively rare cancer, incidence rates have steadily risen over the past 20 years, mostly due to the fact that symptoms of the disease may not appear for decades after initial exposure to asbestos. For this reason, mesothelioma attorneys can be critical, as they can help pinpoint all of the relevant information including when, where and how the initial exposure occurred.
The National Cancer Institute points out that there are approximately 2,500 new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed each year in the U.S. Because of this, a mesothelioma attorney has become increasingly valuable to workers who have been employed in a variety of industries, including shipbuilding, auto manufacturing, construction and mining. These are generally the most common industries to be associated with asbestos exposure. In fact, a history of working with asbestos is reported in approximately 70 to 80 percent of mesothelioma diagnoses, according to the Institute.
However, asbestos exposure can also occur indirectly, and a number of cases have focused on family members who come into contact with those working around asbestos. In these cases, the value of a mesothelioma attorney cannot be understated, as it is crucial to find the root cause of the disease and the initial asbestos exposure. By contacting a mesothelioma attorney, those suffering from the disease can give themselves an opportunity to secure financial compensation for their family if they ultimately succumb to the illness.
Unfortunately for most diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible, mainly due to the fact that it is generally diagnosed at an advanced stage, according to the Mayo Clinic. As such, treatment options generally focus on ensuring the patient is as comfortable as possible.
However, some treatment options that have been explored include a variety of surgeries to help alleviate fluid buildup, remove tissues around the abdomen or lungs or to simply remove as much of the cancer as possible, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Other treatment options are currently being studied by scientists around the world, but those suffering from the disease should consult a mesothelioma attorney in order to ensure that their family is protected in the worst case scenario. Many times, asbestos exposure occurs unwittingly and can be a result of an employer's negligence. By utilizing the services of a mesothelioma attorney, sufferers can protect their family financially, make sure that any offending parties are brought to justice and help to eliminate the occurrence of similar cases in the future.