Mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer usually caused by exposure to the dust of asbestos, is classed as a work-related illness. Even small amounts of exposure can lead to Mesothelioma.
It has, for instance, been known for women washing their husband’s clothes or people living close to asbestos factories developing this illness. The more asbestos dust has been breathed in, the higher the risk of developing the disease.
There are two types of Mesothelioma, namely pleural mesothelioma, which affects chest wall linings, and peritoneal mesothelioma. This latter type affects the lining of the abdomen and/ or stomach. It can take between 10 and 40 years after exposure to asbestos dust for the disease to develop.
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma
During the earliest stages of this illness, or work injury, sufferers rarely experience any noteworthy symptoms. Once symptoms begin to manifest, they typically consist of:
- Persistent coughing
- Weight loss
- Lower back and/ or chest pains
These pains are due to pleural effusion, which is basically fluid building up between the layers of the pleura, which surround the lungs.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma
Here, too, symptoms may take some time to manifest. Once they do, they may include:
- Abdominal (stomach) pain
- Abdominal swelling caused by accumulation of fluids
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Weight loss
Obviously, all of these symptoms may also be signs of other illnesses, rather than necessarily being exclusively signs of Mesothelioma. If you develop any of these symptoms, seeing a doctor to get a correct diagnosis as soon as possible is vital, especially if you were exposed to asbestos/ asbestos dust at any point in your working life. This may have been part of your regular work routine or exposure due to accidents at work.
Diagnosis of mesothelioma
Diagnosing mesothelioma can be difficult and must be performed by medical professionals. In some cases, it can take several months before the condition is correctly diagnosed. The first step is usually to obtain the patient’s complete medical history.
This is then used to determine Mesothelioma risk levels and severity, which will also take into consideration where exposure to asbestos occurred (workplace, work accident); how long the patient was exposed to asbestos and how much of the dust he/ she was exposed to.
Next, fluid is drained from between the pleura’s layers and tested. Known as cytology, this process is, however, not the only process involved in diagnosing Mesothelioma. It is usually followed by one or more biopsies. Biopsies involve removing some pleura tissue and analysing it using a range of special tests. They are done either via video assisted thoracoscopic, CT guided needle or open biopsy procedures. Open biopsies involve surgeons opening the chest cavity.
Once diagnosed, doctors determine which treatment will be most suitable. Which type of treatment is administered ultimately depends on the type and severity of Mesothelioma. In the meantime, the patient may be able to claim work injury compensation.
Claiming for industrial injury compensation
Accident Advice Helpline advisers and lawyers have many years of experience in dealing with industrial illness, injury at work and similar claims.
Calling them via the free-phone number and having a confidential chat with these advisers will quickly establish whether you qualify to claim for mesothelioma compensation.
Date Published: October 28, 2013
Author: David Brown