West Virginia Mesothelioma Attorney
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the lining of the stomach, lungs, or heart. The cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. At Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, our legal team has years of personal injury experience helping victims who’ve been negligently exposed to deadly asbestos. A dedicated West Virginia mesothelioma attorney at our firm can help you if you or a loved one was improperly exposed. Exposure to asbestos may occur in a number of ways, including:
- Working in an asbestos work environment, such as an asbestos mine or asbestos production facility
- Living in proximity to an asbestos mine
- Breathing air containing asbestos particles
- Working in the construction industry
- Remodeling homes that were built with asbestos
- Working without proper breathing and ventilation safety methods
- Other related areas
Repeated exposure to asbestos can result in the accumulation of microscopic asbestos fibers. When these fibers build up in the mesothelium lining of the lungs, heart, stomach or other organs, cancerous tumors may occur. Mesothelioma is a horrible and painful disease that weakens and destroys the body. If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income and other damages. It is advisable to obtain a legal consultation with an experienced Charleston personal injury lawyer to review the circumstances of your case. Once this information is reviewed, a determination may be made how to proceed. A Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, attorney is available for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Types of Mesothelioma and the Associated Symptoms
Almost 3,000 individuals are diagnosed every year with a form of mesothelioma. The different forms include:
- Pleural mesothelioma – the most common form of mesothelioma, affects up to ¾ of all malignant mesothelioma cases. This affects the linings of the lungs, causing irritation, fluid retention, and pain as it develops.
- Symptoms include: breathing problems, hoarseness, chest pain, coughing, hacking, and/or wheezing
- Peritoneal mesothelioma – affects the stomach lining and ranks second, after pleural mesothelioma, in terms of malignant tumor growth
- Symptoms include: stomach and abdominal pain, nausea, change in appetite, bowel problems, swelling, and/or weight loss
- Pericardial mesothelioma – rarest form, tumors grow in the pericardium, a heart membrane
- Symptoms are not obvious until later stages of development of pericardial mesothelioma, but include: chest pain, fatigue, heartbeat irregularities, and/or respiratory problems
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos fibers accumulate and create disturbances in the body. Patients may be exposed to asbestos through work or through breathing asbestos fibers in the home. If you believe you were negligently exposed to asbestos and have since developed mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and will benefit from speaking with a seasoned Charleston mesothelioma attorney.
What Are the Risk Factors of Mesothelioma?
The main risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally-occurring silicone that is strong and resistant to heat. Because of these properties, it was commonly used in housing and industrial applications from the 1940s to the 1980s. When asbestos breaks, however, it releases dust that settles in the lungs. Over time, it may develop into mesothelioma.
One of the troubling things about the cancer is it takes 20 to 40 years to develop after asbestos exposure. Risk varies greatly from person to person: many people have years of exposure to asbestos, and never develop mesothelioma. Others with brief exposure, on the other hand, may develop the disease. This suggests that your risk for developing mesothelioma is dependent on a number of other factors, such as genetic predisposition and family history.
How Common Is Mesothelioma?
The good news is mesothelioma is relatively rare. About 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, and the numbers seem to be decreasing slightly. While the number of new cases increased from the 1970s to the early 1990s, the rates have leveled off and decreased ever since. This is likely due to changes in workplace exposure to asbestos. In many other countries outside of the United States, the rate of mesothelioma is still increasing.
How Is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of mesothelioma, visit your doctor. They will perform a physical examination, paying attention to any lumps under your skin. They may order X-rays or a CT scan to look at abnormalities and perform a biopsy to diagnose or rule out mesothelioma.
If your biopsy returns positive, the next step is to determine the extent of your cancer, a process called staging:
- Stage I means the cancer is localized.
- Stage II means it may have spread beyond the lining of the chest to a lung or the diaphragm.
- Stage III may have spread to other areas of the chest or lymph nodes.
- Stage IV cancer is advanced and means it has spread extensively throughout the chest and may even involve the brain, liver, and lymph nodes.
Treatment for mesothelioma depends on the cancer’s stage. Your doctor will talk to you about your available options, which may include surgery to control fluid buildup, chemotherapy, and radiation. Since mesothelioma is so difficult to treat, the primary goal of your treatment will be comfort and symptom control, rather than a cure.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent mesothelioma. For example, find out if you work around asbestos – factory workers, miners, and construction workers are at the highest risk. Always follow your employer’s safety regulations and wear protective equipment on the job.
If you live in an older home or building, you may have asbestos in your building materials. Oftentimes, it’s better to leave it alone than remove it. If you suspect you have asbestos in your home, talk to the Environmental Protection Agency about remediation.
Call a West Virginia Mesothelioma Lawyer If You’ve Been Exposed to Asbestos
Exposure to asbestos can lead to catastrophic, life-altering complications. It is advisable to review the circumstances of your case with an experienced Charleston mesothelioma attorney. If there is reason to believe that your mesothelioma was caused by another’s negligence, compensation may be sought in a personal injury lawsuit. If a loved one lost their life from mesothelioma, close relatives may seek compensation in a wrongful injury lawsuit. Tiano O’Dell, PLLC is a highly successful, plaintiff’s rights personal injury law firm based in Charleston, WV. At our law firm, we believe negligent parties should be held accountable for their actions and injured clients should receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries. There are no legal fees unless we obtain a satisfactory settlement or court award. To schedule your free consultation, contact us at (304) 720-6700.