People in Pennsylvania and West Virginia who have been exposed to asbestos might develop mesothelioma years after they were exposed. Mesothelioma is a type of terminal, aggressive cancer that is caused by asbestos fibers that people inhale. While most people are likely aware of the type of mesothelioma that affects the lungs, they might not know that mesothelioma can also affect the pericardium, which is the lining that surrounds the heart.
What is pericardial mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma can develop in the lining of the heart. Pericardial mesothelioma is very rare with only 200 known cases. Out of those cases, 25% were discovered after the people died from the disease. Only between 2% to 3% of cancerous tumors on the heart are caused by pericardial mesothelioma.
Prognosis and treatment of pericardial mesothelioma
Pericardial mesothelioma is hard to diagnose because the symptoms that it presents can vary. Since obtaining an early diagnosis is difficult, many people who are diagnosed with this disease are diagnosed late. This means that the prognosis is generally quite poor for people who develop pericardial mesothelioma. The treatment for this cancer is also difficult since the pericardium lines the heart. The tumors do not respond well to radiation, and surgical removal may be impossible. This type of cancer can also rapidly metastasize. Up to half of the cases that are diagnosed show cancerous tumors that have spread to the lymph nodes. Like other types of mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma is related to asbestos exposure.
People who are diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma and their family members may want to talk to experienced asbestos exposure lawyers. It can be difficult to trace when and where the exposure to asbestos occurred. In some cases, people may develop mesothelioma decades after they were exposed to asbestos. Identifying the responsible companies is important for holding them liable. Once the responsible party has been identified, the attorney may file a lawsuit against the company to recover damages to compensate the victim or the family members of victims who have died after developing pericardial mesothelioma. If the company is no longer in business, the attorneys might help their clients secure compensation from an asbestos trust fund.