Erie County sees some of the highest mesothelioma rates in the state, going so far as to earn the nickname “asbestos alley.” With more than 200 New York residents diagnosed with this disease each year, those affected must understand where the condition may have come from, what to expect, and how they can pursue justice.
The overwhelming majority of pleural mesothelioma cases can be linked back to some degree of asbestos exposure. The less asbestos you were exposed to, the longer the latency period may be. This is why some people develop mesothelioma 20-50 years after asbestos exposure, while others may not develop symptoms for 40-70 years.
There is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. If even a few mineral fibers get into your lungs, they will sit there and inflame the surrounding tissue. Because asbestos is so small and inhaling it happens so quickly, many people ages 50-70 don’t realize they were exposed until they are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Children of people who worked in steel mills and car factories throughout the 1950s-1970s are at a higher risk as their parents may have brought fibers home with them.
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Because asbestos has a long latency period, there’s no easy way to tell if you’re developing mesothelioma. While there are some warning signs, early mesothelioma is often discovered by accident, usually while your doctor is treating another condition. Your doctor may order a chest x-ray for an unrelated illness and discover signs of lung damage that warrant further testing.
If the damage is more severe, doctors may recommend immediate treatment or even hospitalization.
If your doctor suspects that you have mesothelioma or lung cancer, they may order more imaging (X-Ray, CT scan, or MRI). They may also order a biopsy (tissue collection), a blood sample, or an endoscopy (using a small, tube-like camera to look at the tissue directly).
If the diagnosis comes back positive for mesothelioma, your doctor may refer you to a specialist who can craft a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Keep in mind that you may want to seek a second opinion when diagnosed with mesothelioma or any rare condition to ensure that the diagnosis is accurate and that you’re getting the best possible treatment plan.
Outlook and Treatment
There is no cure for mesothelioma. However, the disease can sometimes go into remission, meaning the cancerous growths stop spreading. The good news is that aggressive treatment of early-stage mesothelioma gives patients the best chance of remission. This is usually achieved through a mixture of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery to remove the cancerous growths.
The outlook for late-stage mesothelioma is less optimistic and has lower odds for remission. Typically, those with late-stage mesothelioma have an 18-36 month survival rate. While not necessarily terminal, mesothelioma requires immediate and aggressive treatment to improve a patient’s odds.
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If you are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, it’s critical that you and your family pursue justice and seek damages for the initial asbestos exposure. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can conduct an investigation and help you pursue compensation for lost wages, hospital bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Keep in mind that the statute of limitations still applies. Once you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the clock is ticking. You typically have three years from the date of your diagnosis to file a claim, though the circumstances of your case may vary.
On the other hand, if you’ve lost a loved one to mesothelioma, you aren’t alone. If the loved one was an immediate relative, then you may be able to work with an attorney to pursue a wrongful death claim and recover the damages your family needs to move forward.
If you or someone you love were diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma, you deserve a team that will fight for you. If you’d like to discuss your case with an experienced mesothelioma attorney from Richmond Vona, LLC, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.