What you should know about asbestos cancer: how Weitz & Luxenberg can help you
We handled asbestos on a daily basis. We did not use masks or gloves. Our bare hands packed the snow-like substance into the walls and pipes. The awful truth was that there were people who knew that asbestos caused cancer. The reason they did nothing about it was the simple fact that it takes decades to develop the cancers that asbestos causes. Now we are paying the price, and they are long gone.
Weitz & Luxenberg understands the prevalent asbestos problem in the United States. We want to help the people who have developed mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis or any other dangerous disease caused by asbestos exposure.
Who is at risk for Asbestos Cancer?
People working with asbestos, including:
- Construction workers
- Shipyard workers
- Sheet metal workers
- Drywall tapers
- Navy veterans
These individuals have the highest risk of developing asbestos cancer or mesothelioma. Those that are in contact with these individuals are also at risk of becoming ill due to secondary asbestos exposure, in much the same way a non-smoker risks becoming sick due to secondhand smoke inhalation.
The shock of being diagnosed with asbestos cancer
Max worked in plumbing for 40 years before retiring at the age of 65. He now has two infant grandkids, whom he sees frequently. Max has plans for his retirement. He wants to go traveling with his children, and work on a memoir. One afternoon, Max goes to the doctor complaining of a minor pain in his chest, and the doctor reveals to him that he has less than a year left to live. The diagnosis is mesothelioma from asbestos exposure while working in plumbing.
This is exactly the kind of shock most patients experience when they are diagnosed. There is no long-term time frame. The CDC states that 10% of those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma have a 3-year survival rate, and 5% have survival rate of 5 years.
How can asbestos lead to the development of cancers such as Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer?
When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they become trapped in the body's internal organs such as the lungs. Asbestos fibers can remain attached to human tissue for a lifetime. The fibers then trigger chemical reactions that can lead to the development of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos related illnesses.
Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma, a rare but especially aggressive cancer which attacks the mesothelium, the lining that protects the internal organs. There are three types of Mesothelioma:
Pleural Mesothelioma: The most common form of mesothelioma develops in the pleura, the lining that surrounds the lungs.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma: A cancer of the peritoneal, or the abdominal lining.
Pericardial Mesothelioma: The least common form of mesothelioma involves the heart and its surrounding cavity.
The symptoms of mesothelioma vary depending on what stage the patient is in and what kind of mesothelioma he or she has. The following symptoms apply to all forms of mesothelioma:
- Latency period (can be between 20 and 40 years after exposure to asbestos)
- Shortness of breath
- Heavy feeling in the chest
- Pain in the back, chest, or side
- Weight loss
Peritoneal mesothelioma is often associated with abdominal pain, nausea, bowel obstruction, vomiting, and anemia (mesotheliomasymptoms.com).
Pericardial mesothelioma can cause chest pain, trouble breathing, persistent coughing and palpitations (mayoclinic.com).
Lung cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in the lungs, gradually making it more and more difficult for them to function properly. It is categorized into two types:
Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)is the less common form of lung cancer and constitutes about 20% of lung cancer cases. Cigarette smokers are the most prone to develop SCLC and it’s so aggressive, that by the time it has been diagnosed, it has likely metastasized already.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer occurring in about 80% of lung cancer cases. Non-small cell lung cancer can have various causes including asbestos exposure.
Lung Cancer Symptoms
Lung cancer symptoms vary greatly depending on the person, stage, and variety of cancer. Generally, symptoms involve:
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Chronic respiratory infections
What Are the Treatment Options?
Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, patients may opt for treatment that can make the cancer more manageable and improve their quality of life. These treatments include:
Surgery:This procedure usually involves removing part of the lining of the chest or the abdomen. The lining of the chest is removed if the cancer is pleural mesothelioma. The lining of the abdomen is removed if the cancer is peritoneal mesothelioma. In some cases, an entire lung may have to be removed. Also, sometimes the diaphragm (the muscle below the lungs) is removed.
Radiation therapy:Utilizes light rays to kill cancer cells and reduce tumor size. This treatment technique is only effective for the area of the body that is subjected to radiation. External radiation therapy involves radiation that comes from a machine. Internal radiation therapy involves the insertion of substances that produce radiation through tubes to the area where cancer cells exist.
Chemotherapy:Chemotherapy utilizes drugs to kills cancer cells, and when it is used to treat mesothelioma patients, it is usually administered by intravenous injection.
Immunotherapy:Involves manipulating the immune system so that it attacks cancer cells. Normally, the human immune system does not kill mesothelioma cancer cells because it doesn’t recognize these cells as harmful.
In a type of immunotherapy known as active immunotherapy, mesothelioma cancer cells are removed and converted into a vaccine. The vaccine is then injected into the patient. The hope is that the patient's immune system will recognize the vaccine as harmful and therefore recognize mesothelioma cancer as harmful as well.
Lung Cancer Treatments:
Treatment options for lung cancer depend largely on the type of lung cancer and on the stage of the cancer. Treatment techniques for lung cancer include:
Surgery:This treatment technique involves cutting away the lung cancer tumor. Surgery is effective when the cancer has not spread beyond the lung. Surgical procedures for lung cancer are:
Thoracotomy: Surgery performed through the chest wall.
Median Sternotomy: Involves cutting through the breastbone.
Anterior Limited Thoractomy:Performed on the chest.
Anterior Axillary Thoractomy: Performed on part of the chest near the underarm.
Posterolateral Thoracotomy:Performed on the rear of the trunk.
Photodynamic Therapy: Is the treatment technique that is used when surgery is not feasible. It involves the use of a specific type of light to kill cancerous cells.
More information on asbestos cancer:
Weitz & Luxenberg wants to help those afflicted with asbestos-related cancer
Your asbestos cancer was the result of companies producing and selling asbestos while knowing it was toxic. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with asbestos cancer due to a company’s irresponsibility, you may be entitled to compensation.
The Weitz & Luxenberg Asbestos Litigation Unit is one of the most experienced in the United States. The unit has helped thousands of people obtain peace of mind and compensation for the unnecessary burdens brought about by asbestos company negligence. Let us fight for your legal rights.
For a free case review, please complete the form on this page.
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