What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals known for its fibrous texture and ability to resist fire, heat and electricity. Large-scale mining in the 19th century led manufacturers to use asbestos in a variety of applications, including electrical and building insulation. Asbestos was widely used in public buildings, schools, houses, auto repair shops and shipyards until significant health hazards became public knowledge in the 20th century, leading many countries throughout the world to outlaw the use of asbestos in mainstream construction.
How Does Asbestos Cause Mesothelioma?
Prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to serious and sometimes fatal illnesses, including lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. According to the American Cancer Society, mesothelioma is a form of cancer that develops in cells in the linings of certain parts of the body, particularly in the lining of the lungs or abdomen.
When someone ingests or inhales asbestos fibers, the fibers lodge in the mesothelial tissue and cause cellular damage that leads to tumor growth. The body often has difficulty getting rid of or destroying these fibers and, over time, the asbestos cause biological changes resulting in genetic damage, scarring and inflammation. It can take between 20 to 50 years following exposure to asbestos before any obvious symptoms appear and a physician is able to make a definitive diagnosis. While there is no cure and the prognosis is usually poor, researchers have made significant progress in terms of various alternative therapies and treatment options.
Early symptoms of mesothelioma are often mild, so few people recognize or even notice them. Many people don’t experience symptoms until the cancer has already developed into its later stages. Late-stage symptoms are often more noticeable and may be more likely to provoke someone to visit his healthcare physician.
Late-onset symptoms include:
- Bowel obstruction
- Fluid buildup
- Weight loss
- Chronic pain near tumor
- Shortness of breath
Early symptoms of mesothelioma may be caused by other conditions, and people may ignore them or mistake them for other ailments. In many cases, people who suffer from mesothelioma have symptoms for months before receiving a diagnosis.
How a Mesothelioma Asbestos Attorney Can Help
Product makers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their products, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a product maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
If you or someone you know developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos, contact Attorney Group for more information about your options.