Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer that spreads slowly, manifesting itself when cancer has spread dangerously throughout the body. Many of the symptoms overlap with the clinical manifestations of abdominal and lung cancer. Catching this rare form of cancer in its tracks is increasingly challenging, and most doctors misdiagnose mesothelioma, confusing it with other cancers. 

Man in Blue Scrub Suit Sitting on Hospital Bed

Image Courtesy

Research reveals that most mesothelioma risk factors stem from prolonged exposure to or ingestion of asbestos fibers. For instance, the initial signs include abdominal aches and severe pain in the chest cavity. These symptoms often mislead doctors to confuse mesothelioma with other cancer manifestations. 

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral comprising carcinogenic fibers that wreak havoc on the human body when inhaled or ingested. Asbestos fibers cause severe DNA and cellular damage, replacing healthy cells with cancerous cells throughout the body. Asbestos exposure is the leading cause behind mesothelioma, a rare disease that brings endless suffering with a painful prognosis. 

Keep reading to learn more about mesothelioma and its prognosis. 

Prolonged Exposure to Asbestos 

Asbestos boasts remarkable heat, corrosion, and electricity resistance, making it ideal for construction, manufacturing, and industrial processes. Most mesothelioma patients have a prolonged history of working with asbestos or asbestos-containing products. This rare cancer is hugely prevalent amongst blue-collar employees, industrial and construction workers, and U.S Navy veterans. 

Patients have a right to pursue legal action and demand compensation from negligent employers and manufacturers responsible for their asbestos exposure. However, asbestos use has come under strict regulation in recent years, given the heightening medical scrutiny around its risk factors. It’s wise to work with an attorney specializing in mesothelioma cases, and a quick Google search can connect you with reputable lawyers.  

Suppose you’re planning to file a personal injury lawsuit involving an asbestos claim in Ohio. In that case, make a search query using the keywords “Ohio mesothelioma attorney” to find the most relevant results. Keywords always matter as they convey our search intentions to the artificial intelligence (AI) bots deployed by search engines. Be sure to revolve your search around mesothelioma specializations to find an attorney with vast experience handling asbestos claims. 

Securing a sizable mesothelioma settlement demands an in-depth investigation into your work history and exposure origins. You don’t want to work with an attorney who doesn’t have any experience handling the complexities of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. Working with an attorney familiar with legal proceedings and evidence-gathering mechanisms will help secure your best interests with a favorable settlement. 

Finding the right lawyer and securing compensation is crucial to fund a mesothelioma treatment and access the best facilities. In many cases, attorneys find more victims of the same employer or manufacturer to file class-action lawsuits with trial proceedings. Verdicts allow victims to secure higher payouts than out-of-court settlements. Financial independence will help you explore multiple treatment options to ensure a successful recovery. 

Disease Prognosis & Survival 

Identifying and diagnosing mesothelioma isn’t easy. Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma in the lungs suffer acute pneumonia, often dying of respiratory failure. In most cases, cancer reaches an advanced stage by the time of diagnosis. Most patients are given a life expectancy of 12-24 months, while 10% of patients have a 5-year survival rate. 

Many patients complain of severe digestive conditions, abdominal pain, and unusual bowel changes. It’s common for patients to experience bowel obstructions when the tumor penetrates the diaphragm, damaging the abdominal and chest cavity. In rare cases, cancer penetrates the heart by invading the pericardium, resulting in death due to heart complications. 

Most of these life-threatening complications stem from the inability to identify and diagnose mesothelioma in its early stages. These symptoms appear around 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos fibers. 

The most severe symptoms include acute chest pain and shortness of breath, leading doctors to believe lung cancer is at play. Mesothelioma triggers shortness of breath by filling the pleura with fluid, causing severe congestion. Abdominal mesothelioma manifests itself with abnormal weight loss, blood clotting, severe inflammation, bowel obstructions, and fever. Patients complain of severe abdominal pain and bloating, and some develop anemia. 

In most cases, cancer spreads to other body organs, resulting in widespread complications, swelling, and pain. Many of these symptoms overlap with other cancers and health conditions; therefore, doctors must run multiple tests to diagnose mesothelioma. 

The Challenges of Diagnosing Mesothelioma 

Doctors typically begin by examining the patient’s medical history and screening out the risk for asbestos exposure. It’s crucial to note that asbestos exposure is a significant factor differentiating mesothelioma from other cancers. 

Doctors typically screen patients for abdominal pain heart-related symptoms and examine the chest cavity for signs of fluid buildup. If the symptoms don’t align with other cancer manifestations, the doctor will recommend mesothelioma diagnostic tests. 

Blood tests are a common form of testing patients for cancer, but they are unreliable when diagnosing mesothelioma. Doctors typically combine blood tests with fluid and tissue examinations to create a comprehensive picture of bodily complications. Examining the tissues and fluid is crucial to conducting a microscopic analysis of the cancerous cells. However, doctors need to investigate further to verify a mesothelioma diagnosis. 

In most cases, mesothelioma specialists conduct biopsies to remove tissue and examine them for mesothelioma signs. Needle biopsy is a standard diagnostic test to analyze the tumor. Doctors also prescribe other biopsies, including mediastinoscopy, laparoscopy, and thoracoscopy. In rare cases, surgeons conduct a surgical biopsy to remove a large tissue sample and test it for mesothelioma. 

Doctors also use imaging tests, CT scans, X-rays, and PET to peek inside the body without invasive procedures. MRI scans are another prominent diagnostic tool that helps doctors locate the tumor and examine its growth. 

Final Thoughts 

Mesothelioma is a complicated and scary cancer that spreads quickly and is extremely hard to diagnose. In most cases, the delays in diagnosis make it challenging for patients to map out treatments and create a realistic survival strategy. It’s wise to find a reputable mesothelioma specialist and initiate your treatment as soon as you receive your diagnosis. 

However, most blue-collar professionals diagnosed with mesothelioma cannot afford treatment, and health insurance plans don’t offer sufficient coverage. Pursuing a lawsuit and demanding compensation is the most viable strategy in such a case.