Mesothelioma diagnoses have been increasing in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and the rest of the U.S. The aggressiveness of this disease makes many people wonder if they or their family members are at risk for developing it. Understanding the risk factors for mesothelioma and what to do if people are diagnosed with the condition are important.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos used to be widely used during the 1940s through the 1970s in the construction industry because of its fire-resistant properties. However, the fibers from asbestos can become lodged in the tissues of people who work with the substance and eventually cause mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelioma, which is the lining that surrounds the lungs, heart, and abdomen. The most common type of mesothelioma affects the lungs. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is progressive, and most people who have the condition have poor prognoses.

What are the risk factors for mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is nearly always directly related to exposure to asbestos fibers. People who work in the construction industry or who have done so in the past may have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma. People who work in other industries, including manufacturing and shipbuilding, may also have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma. Workers who have prolonged exposures to asbestos have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma. The family members of people who work around or with asbestos are also at risk. The fibers can be carried home on the workers’ shoes and clothing and subsequently be inhaled by their family members.

People who are diagnosed with mesothelioma and their family members may want to consult with experienced mesothelioma lawyers. The attorneys might help their clients to trace their asbestos exposures so that they can determine liability. Determining liability is important so that the victims might recover damages to compensate them for all of their losses. Asbestos trust funds have also been established within the bankruptcy courts for companies that have filed bankruptcy cases because of asbestos litigation. A lawyer may help his or her clients to secure compensation from those funds.