Mesothelioma is a rare form of malignant cancer that develops in the mesothelium, a lining that protects the body’s internal organs, such as the lungs, the abdomen and the heart. Every year about 2,000 – 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the US, involving workers who got exposed to the mineral asbestos – workers like asbestos miners and workers in manufacturing plants, power plants, construction sites, chemical plants, mills, railroads and shipyards, which include thousands of enlisted personnel, especially in the US Navy.
Asbestos’ heat resistance and elasticity have made it a perfect fire retardant component in the manufacture of thousands of different commercial and household products. Though extremely useful, this mineral is known to release sharp fiber dusts which can enter the body by mixing with the air we breathe or by contaminating our water and food. Once inside the body, dusts that never get expelled accumulate in the lungs, scarring and damaging these in the process.
Asbestos-related diseases take a long time to develop (the most common diseases caused by asbestos are lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma). Lung cancer and asbestosis take about 15 years to develop (from initial exposure to asbestos); mesothelioma, on the other hand, takes about 20 to 40 years (or more).
Besides being a rare form of cancer, mesothelioma has no known cure and is characterized by extreme pain, destroying the quality of life that still remains in the patient.
Mesothelioma totally alters the life of the victims and their families. Despite the latest treatments available, it remains painful and heat-breaking to know these, if successful, can only extend (for a little more time) patients’ lives since the illness is irreversible.
Many firms, which knowingly exposed thousands of their workers to the deadly effects of asbestos, have already ceased operations (some due to bankruptcy), but not before being mandated by law to set up a Mesothelioma Compensation Trust Funds for the purpose of compensating asbestos victims, who will never be able to enjoy again the kind of lives they used to live.
Besides eligibility to receive financial assistance from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program (if mesothelioma can be proven to have developed due to exposure to asbestos during work), anyone diagnosed with this deadly cancer may also qualify for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Mesothelioma so happens to be included in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book, which is a list of severe illnesses that serve as criteria for Social Security Disability benefits eligibility. The website of the Hankey Law Office happens to provide valuable and helpful information on how mesothelioma patients may be able to avail of Social Security.
The mentioned financial benefits, however, can never be enough due to the severity and eventual fatal consequence of mesothelioma. This is why lawsuits continue to be filed by victims and/or their families for the purpose of seeking justice, usually through financial compensation, for all the damages, pain and suffering that they were made to unjustly suffer. Clearly, employers chose to expose their workers to the toxic effects of asbestos for the profit they believed they can rake in.
There are many things that need to be understood about asbestos and mesothelioma, including who actually are at risk of developing the deadly cancer, its kinds, available treatments, symptoms, and stages. More information on this topic may be found at www.williamskherkher.com/practice-areas/mesothelioma-lawyer/.