Asbestos and Mesothelioma

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The Relationship between Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Asbestos has been found to cause a variety of serious health issues including malignant lung cancer and may also have a link to certain colon cancers. However, mesothelioma is by far the most common type of tumor experienced by those exposed to asbestos. Mesothelioma is a cancer that develops in the mesothelium, a thin, protective layer of flat cells that protect the internal organs within the body cavity.

Asbestos exposure is the only scientifically verified cause of mesothelioma. The prognosis is not good for those diagnosed with this type of cancer because by the time it is discovered it has usually metastasized (spread) from its original site to other areas of the body.

Types of Mesothelioma

There are three main types of mesothelioma, classified by where they originate. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common, accounting for 75% of all diagnosed cases. It originates in the pleura, the sac which contains the lungs, where asbestos fibers lodge and eventually cause tumors to form.

Peritoneal mesothelioma makes up about 15% to 20% of all cases diagnosed and originates in the lining of the abdominal cavity. Opinions vary as to how the asbestos work its way into the abdomen, but many scientists believe it enters through the lymph system.

Pericardial mesothelioma is by far the rarest form of the disease and is a type of heart cancer. Scientist believe the asbestos fibers make their way from the lungs to the heart where they become lodged in the pericardium (the lining of the sac that surrounds the heart), and a tumor eventually develops.

In addition to being classified by location of origin, mesothelioma is also classified by cell type—depending on the type of cell it originates in. Conversely, there are some rare instances where mesothelioma tumors are benign. These tumors do not metastasize and can usually be eliminated with surgery.

Asbestos Exposure

Cancer caused by asbestos exposure has been on the rise since 1965. According to leading reports, approximately 4,000 deaths per year were attributed to asbestos related cancers in the 1960’s. That number has increased to approximately 9,700 deaths annually.

The primary reason we are seeing an increase in cancer diagnoses and deaths related to asbestos is because of the long latency period prior to the onset of symptoms. It can take anywhere from 15 to 40 years from the time of first exposure to diagnosis.


If you have been recently diagnosed with mesothelioma you have a right to compensation. The companies that continued to allow asbestos to be used in manufacturing and for military applications were well aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure as early as 1920. They have since admitted wrongdoing and have set up compensation funds for victims.

Whether or not you are entitled to compensation specifically from one of these funds, you are still entitled to compensation. However, it is important to understand that there is a statute of limitations on how long you have to file a claim. Additionally, you may not have to file a lawsuit to receive the money you have coming, it is not taxable, and it will not reduce other benefits you are already receiving.

Mesothelioma Lawyers

Our expert legal team at Shea Law Group can help you attain the compensation you are entitled to. A diagnosis of mesothelioma is devastating, and treatment can run upwards of a million dollars. That is why it is so important to understand your rights. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call our Chicago Workers Compensation Lawyer at (773)-365-0040 and let us help you collect the settlement you deserve. You will never incur a fee unless we win your case.

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