Asbestos was once heralded as the premier material for insulation, fire resistance, and soundproofing. It was used extensively in shipbuilding, power stations, factories, and construction. Although concerns were raised about its safety in the early 20th century, it was not until the 1970s that the dangers of asbestos were given closer consideration. Now banned in many countries, the legacy of asbestos is still prevalent worldwide, and so too is a medical disaster left in its wake. Hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of asbestos exposure, or are living with life-limiting and terminal illnesses. Mesothelioma, a cancer that predominantly affects the lining of the lungs, is just one of them. Patients affected by this disease, as well as other ailments related to industrial usage of asbestos, may have the right to compensation from liable former employers.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which targets the lining of major organs. It most frequently occurs in the lining of the lungs, but can also affect the stomach and heart.

Suppressed appetite and unexpected weight loss are common symptoms of mesothelioma, irrespective of which organs are involved. More specifically, in mesothelioma of the lungs, the following symptoms may be experienced:

  •   Chest pain
  •   Shortness of breath
  •   Persistent coughing
  •   Fever, particularly at night
  •   Fatigue

In cases of mesothelioma involving the stomach, additional symptoms are:

  •   Stomach pain
  •   Abdominal swelling
  •   Nausea and/or vomiting
  •   Diarrhea and/or constipation

If any of these symptoms are experienced by an individual that has worked directly with asbestos, or has had close contact with their clothing or equipment, it is important to contact a doctor as soon as any of the above symptoms are experienced. Unfortunately, the majority of cases are diagnosed at a late stage; as such, the prognosis in late-stage mesothelioma is quite poor. 50% of patients are expected to survive for one year, whilst only 10% will reach five years.

What causes mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. The structure of the material is such that it is extremely easy to inhale inadvertently. Asbestos fibers are long and thin, comprised of minute particles. When these particles are inhaled, they cause irritation and scarring to any tissue with which they interact. In cases of mesothelioma, the damage caused by asbestos creates mutations in affected tissues, which in turn develops into cancerous cells and tumors.

The financial implications of mesothelioma diagnosis

As well as the extreme distress of living with a serious illness, diagnosis with mesothelioma can have severe financial implications. If surgical interventions are suggested, the average cost to the patient is almost $40,000. Initial treatment with chemotherapy is estimated to be $7,000, with an 8-week course costing $30,000. Radiotherapy carries an average expense of $2,000 per month to the patient. In addition, alternative therapies that may form part of palliative care can bring significant additional costs; many are not covered by medical insurance.

Legal assistance for mesothelioma patients

Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma are often able to obtain compensation from former employers, or the employers of family members who worked with asbestos. Average settlements are in the region of $1.2million, and if cases go to full trial, awards are often upwards of $2million. If you are considering legal action or require support with any aspect of mesothelioma diagnosis, contact for more information.

Author's Bio: 

Brad is a regular contributor to numerous websites within the legal/law industry and is frequently hired by law firms to write about specific, legal related topics for their sites. He also loves writing about video games almost as much as he loves playing them. Brad is also the founder and creator of, where children's books are regularly reviewed.