Talking about preventing asbestos exposure once you receive a diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma does you no good. Due to the fact that the time between your first symptoms and your exposure to asbestos could be as long as 30 years, what you more than likely need now is a better understanding of your illness.
At some point in your past, you breathed in asbestos fibers or dust. This happens to most people during the course of their employment, but in some cases, the exposure occurs other ways. Once inhaled, the fibers or dust burrowed into your body, which resulted in the scar tissue and cancerous cells that developed into your illness. Your diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma means that doctors found cancerous cells on the thin tissue layer that covers your lungs and lines your chest.
More than likely, you began experiencing one or more of the following symptoms for which you sought medical attention:
- A dull pain or ache under your ribcage
- Unexplained lumps in your abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal swelling
The problem with receiving an accurate diagnosis for this illness is that the above symptoms mimic any number of other ailments. It may not have been until your doctor understood your exposure to asbestos at some point in your past that your doctor found the appropriate diagnosis.
Reaching a diagnosis more than likely involved most, if not all, of the following:
- An accurate history
- A thorough physical examination
- Blood tests
- A bronchoscopy
- CT scans
- PET scans
- A biopsy
Your doctor may also order a cytologic examination, which requires removing a sample of the fluid around your lungs that then gets reviewed under a microscope.
You could undergo one or all of the following treatments depending on the circumstances:
- Radiation therapy
Doctors and surgeons could choose from a number of surgical procedures. In order for surgery to be its most effective, your diagnosis must come early enough. You must also be physically able to bear the procedure.
You may be part of the 15 percent of sufferers who survive five years or more with the illness. Unfortunately, the mortality rate for many types of mesothelioma, including pleural mesothelioma, is high. The fact that symptoms ordinarily do not reach a level where people seek medical attention until it is too late contributes to this. In addition, diagnosis is difficult and may not come early enough, and researchers have yet to find a cure.
Your legal options
At this point, you may wonder whether you have any legal recourse for your condition. The simple answer is yes. However, since the asbestos exposure probably took place decades ago, you may need help identifying the appropriate parties who bear legal responsibility for your illness. You may be able to receive workers' compensation benefits as well, but again, you may want to seek guidance and assistance with this process.