Asbestos is a series of naturally-occurring fibrous minerals that are known for their resistance to heat, corrosion, and electricity. It was once seen as something of a wonder material and was regularly used in textiles, brake pads, hot water pipes, and building materials. Unfortunately, it also came with a major downside.
While asbestos is relatively benign most of the time, it can shed microscopic fibers when it is disturbed. These fibers can be ingested or inhaled, where they can remain in the body for years. Eventually, these fibers create scar tissue and cause a number of serious health issues, the most infamous being mesothelioma.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium, or the lining that surrounds internal organs such as the heart, lungs, and stomach. The cancer is caused by the scar tissue that forms around the asbestos fibers that have gotten into the body.
Mesothelioma can affect the heart or stomach, but the most common form affects the lungs. Symptoms include chest pains, shortness of breath, fatigue, coughing, and muscle weakness. These symptoms typically don’t appear until several decades after one’s asbestos exposure. By this time, the cancer is terminal, although some of the symptoms can be treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery.
Although asbestos has not been widely used in the United States for several decades, older adults may still develop mesothelioma if they’ve been exposed to the mineral in the past. Factory workers and those who have worked in the textile and automotive industries were often exposed, as were those who have lived in homes containing asbestos.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to previous asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. There are many Pitsburgh malpractice lawyers who specialize in mesothelioma and asbestos exposure cases, and they will be glad to look into your situation and take your case.