Weitz & Luxenberg: mesothelioma lawyers
Weitz & Luxenberg’s mesothelioma lawyers are among the most respected in the nation. The numerous monetary verdicts and settlements we have secured on behalf of our clients are a testament to our decades of experience working in asbestos litigation. If you are suffering from mesothelioma, or another asbestos related disease such as asbestos lung cancer, or asbestosis, a Weitz & Luxenberg lawyer can help you get justice and compensation.
Mesothelioma deprived him of the life he should have had
For 15 years, Daniel’s job at a Montana insulation plant entailed handling bags of asbestos contaminated vermiculite. His employer was fully aware of the dangers of asbestos, but failed to provide Daniel and his work colleagues with protective clothing and masks.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that attacks the mesothelium, the protective sac that lines the internal organs. Compared to other cancers, Mesothelioma is rare, “striking fewer than 3,000 Americans a year,” but of those diagnosed, “only about 1 in 10 (10%) will be alive in 3 years, and 1 in 20 (5%) will be alive in 5 years.” (CDC)
A primary reason for these dismal statistics is that mesothelioma, unlike many other forms of cancer, is difficult to detect in its infancy. Most medical professionals agree that the best defense against cancer is early detection, but mesothelioma has a 20-40 year latency period, which means that most of its symptoms are not immediately apparent. Or, if some symptoms are apparent, such as chest pain or shortness of breath during exertion, the afflicted may assume that they are experiencing the common cold or that they need to exercise more.
At age 57, Daniel began to experience severe, persistent pain and labored breathing. Eventually, he became so weak that lifting a fork to eat required tremendous effort. His doctor gave him the devastating diagnosis: he had mesothelioma cancer.
Mesothelioma is linked to asbestos, a human carcinogen, which, for its durability, flexibility and resistance to fire are utilized in a number of industries, such as shipbuilding and engineering. Many of those currently suffering from mesothelioma are men who used to have careers in construction or in the military. It is estimated that older military veterans, such as those who served in World War 2 and Vietnam, compromise approximately 30% of mesothelioma sufferers.
In addition to the construction and manufacturing industries, asbestos is widely used in hundreds of products such as plaster, fire blankets, various adhesives, and vinyl floor tiles. What is perhaps most disconcerting is that many of these products are easily accessible and used by people from all walks of life.
One need not necessarily have a construction background to develop mesothelioma. There have been instances of homeowners and even medical professionals becoming sick while handling products and equipment that contained asbestos. One tragic example involved Marvin Penn, a dental technician, who developed mesothelioma after carving teeth replicas using asbestos based dental tape.
Asbestos fibers are easily transferrable, which means anyone who comes into contact with them can unknowingly jeopardize the health of their loved ones through secondhand asbestos exposure. Even those who were exposed to asbestos once are at risk of developing health problems later in life.
The Three Types of Mesothelioma
Peritoneal Mesothelioma: Peritoneal mesothelioma involves the peritoneum, the abdominal lining. The peritoneum consists of two layers: the parietal layer, which protects the abdominal cavity and the visceral layer, which encases the abdominal organs. When a person inhales asbestos, the fibers attach themselves to the peritoneum tissue, and wreck devastation on the body. Peritoneal Mesothelioma is relatively rare; accounting for “less than 20% of mesothelioma cases.” (Mesothelioma Symptoms) Its symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Bowel difficulties
Pericardial Mesothelioma: Pericardial Mesothelioma “accounts for less than 5% of reported cases.” (Mesothelioma Symptoms) This type of mesothelioma involves the pericardium, the fluid filled lining which encases the heart. Pericardial Mesothelioma patients may experience a number of cardiac related symptoms, such as:
- Heart palpitations
- Irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain
Pleural Mesothelioma: Pleural Mesothelioma is the most common form, comprising approximately 75 % of all mesothelioma diagnoses. It develops in the pleura, the fluid filled lining around the lungs. This type of mesothelioma usually affects one of the two pleural layers (parietal and visceral), but it is possible for the cancer cells to metastasize to the other layer. Once asbestos fibers are embedded inside of the pleura, pleural effusion (fluid buildup) ensues. Pleural Mesothelioma shares many of the same symptoms that accompany peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma, but it also has its own unique symptoms, including:
- Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Lumps on the chest
Daniel’s former colleagues became sick with mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. As the disease advanced, Daniel’s family and friends watched agonizingly as his pain worsened and his breathing became even more difficult.
At present, there is no known cure for mesothelioma. Once you have been diagnosed with the disease, your medical professional will work with you to develop an appropriate treatment plan. Chemotherapy is most typically employed, but other treatments, such as radiation therapy, gene therapy, immunotherapy and photodynamic therapy, are
In order to begin treatment for Mesothelioma, a medical professional will utilize one of the following systems, which can help them access the severity of their patient’s illness:
Named after mesothelioma expert Dr. Eric Butchart, this system is the oldest of its kind. It is used most often in pleural mesothelioma cases, and is divided into four stages:
Stage 1: During this stage, the cancer tumor is “isolated to the pleura on one side or the other, and possibly the diaphragm on that same side.” (Articles Base)
Stage 2: The primary tumor “ispresent in both lungs and may have spread to other organs or lymph nodes within the chest cavity.” (Articles Base)
Stage 3: The cancerous tumor has invaded the peritoneum via the diaphragm. “It may also have spread to lymph nodes outside of the chest cavity.” (Articles Base)
Stage 4: During this stage, the cancer cells have metastasized to other parts of the body via the blood stream.
TNM is an acronym for Tumor, Nodes and Metastases. This system was developed in 1994 by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. Like the Butchart System, TNM is used to stage pleural mesothelioma.
TNM Stage 1:Mesothelioma tumors are apparent, but are localized to one specific area.
TNM Stage 2:The mesothelioma tumors have become malignant and have begun to spread (usually on the same side of the body as where the cancer originally started).
TNM Stage 3:Mesothelioma has spread to the lymph nodes, and/or it has invaded the mediastinum (the lining of the abdomen).
TNM Stage 4: Previously unaffected organs and other body parts are now infected, such as the esophagus and the spine.
This recently developed system “focuses on how proactive treatment may be, and how the primary cancer tumor can be removed.” (Mesothelioma Symptoms) It was pioneered by medical professionals at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.
Brigham Stage 1: “The mesothelioma is still resectable (able to be removed) and the lymph nodes have not been affected.” (Meso Answers)
Brigham Stage 2:The lymph notes are infected.
Brigham Stage 3:Depending on the type of mesothelioma, the cancer penetrates the abdominal cavity, heart, chest wall or diaphragm.
Brigham Stage 4:The mesothelioma has metastasized beyond the area where it originated.
Daniel, who never had a debt, worried for his family’s financial future, and wondered how his 54 year old wife would be able to juggle a physically demanding job and raising two dependent children.
Weitz & Luxenberg: Legal advocates for mesothelioma patients
Weitz & Luxenberg has been a leader in mesothelioma and asbestos related litigation for over two decades. Since our founding, we have earned over $6.5 billion for clients suffering from mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer or asbestosis, due to exposure to asbestos. It is a travesty that instead of being able to enjoy retirement, these people must struggle just to breathe properly.
Weitz & Luxenberg has the qualifications and the practice experience necessary to get justice for those who have suffered from an asbestos related disease. For a free legal review of your case, please fill out the form on this page. All communication will be strictly confidential, and there is no fee unless we secure a monetary verdict or settlement for you.
For a listing of our numerous mesothelioma verdicts and settlements, including our trail blazing $75 million verdict secured on behalf of several former employees of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, please see our Verdicts and Settlements page.
Learn more about our other practice areas: