Those who have been exposed to asbestos in their lifetime likely have a predisposition to developing mesothelioma cancer. This disease is incredibly serious and more times than not ends in death or severe impairment. Mesothelioma is not a naturally occurring cancer, which makes it likely that those who develop the disease were exposed to asbestos in the last 30-50 years, typically while in their workplace. The construction industry is known to have the most cases of individuals who have gone on to develop this rare and deadly condition. Due to the rarity of this disease and its relationship to the substance asbestos, individuals who have developed this illness or have lost loved ones to it may be entitled to legal representation in an attempt to receive compensation.

DANGERS IN THE INDUSTRY

Mesothelioma cancer reportedly kills 43,000 people worldwide annually. Aside from some rare cases, most of these deaths resulted from exposure to asbestos some time previously. Most people who die of this disease work in an industry where they have been near or in direct contact with asbestos or materials that contain asbestos. Before 1978, insulation for homes and businesses were made with asbestos due to its durability and high resistance to fire. The dangers the product posed were not yet known publically, and the link between asbestos and mesothelioma took a long time to expose. Today, construction companies forgo the use of asbestos in building materials in order to preserve the health of workers and of the inhabitants of home and office buildings. Unfortunately, workers who were in the business before 1978 likely worked closely with asbestos, breathing it in and having close contact with it for days at a time.

THE IMPACT

One of the most sinister qualities of asbestos is that it can sit dormant in the body for years. It may be decades before an individual ever shows signs of mesothelioma cancer, and when they do, the disease is often misdiagnosed. This is because the disease itself is so rare and presents itself with common symptoms such as shortness of breath, labored breathing, coughing, and other respiratory problems. Because these symptoms mirror the symptoms of so many other conditions, the disease is often diagnosed as something else entirely. Due to the commonality of a misdiagnosis, most patients do not survive within the first year of their malignance.

This has left many families torn apart due to the suddenness and severity of the illness. Parents and grandparents are often the ones who suddenly fall ill, unable to recover due to the complexity of their condition. Rarely do people survive past five years, and when they do, they typically suffer a great deal.

UNDERSTANDING THE LINK

Asbestos contains minerals that are harmful to the human respiratory system. This complex and rare cancer only develops after exposure to asbestos, usually for prolonged periods of time. Research from the National Institute of Health has shown that between 1940 and 1978, the year asbestos was widely banned from use, approximately 11 million people were exposed to the substance. In coming years, the number of mesothelioma cases is expected to rise. Many people seek legal representation, financial compensation and support when diagnosed. The severity and unexpectedness of the disease often cost the average family thousands of dollars in hospitalization and treatments, and eventually leaves them grieving in the wake of a family member’s death.