Mesothelioma lung cancer is a rare form of cancer that affects the cells that line the lungs. The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, cancer of the lung lining. In this type, malignant tumors form on the pleura, which is the lining of the lung. Other forms of mesothelioma attack the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) and the pericardium (the lining around the heart). Both forms of mesothelioma are caused by exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos is a special fiber that was used widely in almost every industry, including ceiling and floor tiles, fireproofing equipment and home equipment. Asbestos and its exposure have been among the leading lung cancer causes. In addition to the lung cancer risk factors, asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma lung cancer, asbestos cancer and asbestosis.
Asbestos exposure has been know to cause lung cancer in the bodies of shipbuilders, pipe fitters, drywallers, automobile repair workers, firemen, coal miners, cement workers, insulation and flood installers, welders, and other industrial workers. In addition, the spouses of industrial workers have been known to be at a higher lung cancer risk because they often breathe in the fibers brought home on clothes.
Mesothelioma lung cancer has a long incubation period, between 10 to 50 years. Symptoms do not appear until long after the initial exposure to asbestos.
The early symptoms of mesothelioma can resemble pneumonia. They include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, persistent cough, and chest and abdominal pain. There is often fluid buildup between the lung lining and the chest cavity, which leads to shortness of breath and pain.
There is no known cure for mesothelioma lung cancer, although the disease can be treated with chemotherapy, surgery, pneumonectomy, radiation therapy, and gene therapy.
The asbestos causes of lung cancer often lie dormant for decades, infecting those with even small initial exposure. If you have been diagnosed with a form of cancer caused by asbestos, you may have a legal right to seek compensation. That determination can only be made after a careful consultation with an attorney.