Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer affecting the linings that cover the outer surface of the body’s organs. It most commonly affects the lining of the lungs, the pleura, and is called pleural mesothelioma.
The next most common form of mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdomen, and this is called peritoneal mesothelioma. However, it can affect other organs including the heart, called pericardial mesothelioma or the testes, called testicular mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma, thankfully, is a rare cancer, with around 2,700 people diagnosed with the condition each year.
There is a latency period of between 10 and 50 years, from exposure to asbestos to the development of mesothelioma symptoms. This means that a lot of people diagnosed with mesothelioma are over the age of 70.
The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos. Airborne asbestos fibres can be inhaled or ingested and get stuck in the body. Over time the fibres damage the tissue, and it is thought that this damage causes mutations in the DNA of cells, causing them to grow and multiply out of control, causing cancer.
Unlike other asbestos conditions, you only need to have experienced minimal exposure to asbestos to be at risk of developing mesothelioma.
The symptoms of mesothelioma depend on which area of the body is affected.
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma can include:
- Chest pain
- A persistent cough
- Loss of appetite
- Clubbing or swelling of the fingertips
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma can include:
- Stomach pain
- Swelling of the stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Diarrhoea or constipation
If you are concerned that you may have mesothelioma, see your doctor as quickly as possible and make sure they are aware that you have been exposed to asbestos in the past.
Sadly, there is no definitive cure for mesothelioma, however, there are treatments that can help to alleviate symptoms, improve quality of life, and prolong life expectancy.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can help to slow the growth of cancer and can shrink tumours. This can help to alleviate pain and reduce symptoms. Unfortunately, there are well-known negative side effects and patients have to consider whether the benefits of the treatment outweigh the side effects.
If a diagnosis of mesothelioma is made at a relatively early stage, surgery may be an option to remove as much of the cancer as possible. For patients with pleural mesothelioma, a radical surgery where the lung lining (pleura) and the lung are removed, may be offered. However, this very much depends on an early diagnosis and the patient having a strong heart. Surgery for mesothelioma can have a lengthy recovery period.
Increasingly we are seeing patients with mesothelioma being treated with immunotherapy. This is a treatment that uses the patient’s own immune system to fight the cancer, targeting and destroying the mesothelioma cells. In some cases, immunotherapy has not been available as a standard treatment for mesothelioma on the NHS and we have been successful in recovering private treatment costs as part of our claims for mesothelioma.
Sadly, for many patients, by the time symptoms develop the cancer is already at an advanced stage and this can affect the prognosis.
The prognosis for mesothelioma patients is often poor with a late diagnosis affecting the treatments offered and their efficacy.
The typical survival rate for mesothelioma is between 4 and 18 months after diagnosis. However, advances in treatments such as immunotherapy are helping patients to live longer, with fewer symptoms.
Making a claim for mesothelioma
We are experts in mesothelioma claims and we know that time is of the essence when claiming compensation. Whilst every claim is different, we make a point of dealing with mesothelioma claims as quickly as possible and have settled claims in as little as 60 days.
We understand that after a diagnosis of mesothelioma, the last thing anyone wants to do is deal with a solicitor and so we aim to take the stress away from the patient. We can deal with everything over the phone and by post or email, depending on our client’s preference, we can also arrange a home visit if this is preferred. If the patient wants to pursue a claim but does not want to deal with the day to day running of a claim, we are happy to, with their consent, liaise with a family member or friend.
If you think you may have a claim for mesothelioma compensation, contact us today to speak to our specialist solicitors on 01244 312306 or email email@example.com.
He fully understood the situation that my brother was going through and the journey he was about to take. His medical knowledge and understanding of Mesothelioma and the treatments available was immense. James portrayed everything in understandable layman’s terms and with empathy. I cannot recommend James Cameron and his professional staff highly enough at Oliver & Co Solicitors.
Thank you, to you all.
Call and speak to a member of our team on 01244 312306