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Mesothelioma Lawyer Working in Orlando and Surrounding Area

Every year, somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 individuals living within the United States of America are diagnosed with mesothelioma. This extremely aggressive and difficult to treat form of cancer has been with us for at least 250 years (with early mentions of mesothelioma symptoms appearing around 1767), but it was not until 1909 that the cancer received its own name, thus paving the way for additional research into the symptoms, causes, and possible treatments for those affected as well as a better understanding of the various types of mesothelioma that exist.

What is Mesothelioma?

Simply put, mesothelioma is a proliferation of non-traditional cells that start to form and spread throughout the mesothelium, the extremely thin layer of membranous cells that surround several of the internal organs inside of our bodies. As these abnormal cells begin to proliferate, they can start to cause tremendous damage to the organs they surround, eventually leading to a breakdown of the body’s central nervous system and, in many cases, death.

While many instances of mesothelioma demand immediate treatment in order to prevent severe damage to the body in which they are housed, it is also true that not all instances of mesothelioma are fatal or even highly dangerous (although even the less dangerous forms must be addressed to prevent them from mutating into a cancerous version of themselves).

What Causes Mesothelioma?

At this time, there is only one known cause for mesothelioma: exposure to asbestos. Throughout the 20th century, asbestos was a material used in building and insulating, as well as numerous other circumstances. Even after research began showing how dangerous asbestos was, the companies manufacturing the material continued to work as before, more concerned about their own bottom line than they were about the lives of the workers who would encounter the toxic material. This being so, asbestos continues to be a substance that is often around us, although it is most commonly encountered by those who work within the construction industry or those who want to engage in home improvement activities.

Certain industries lend themselves even more to possible asbestos exposure. These include:

  • Carpenters
  • Mechanics
  • Boilermakers
  • Electricians
  • Ship builders
  • Auto manufacturing employees
  • Refinery workers
  • Steel workers

Asbestos fibers may enter the air due to demolition or simple degradation of material that can occur over time. This means that it is not only those who work at a live constriction site who are at risk to asbestos exposure; anyone working around asbestos is at risk of inhaling the deadly fibers. When it is breathed in, the tiny fibers of the substance can enter the body and began to create inflammation as well as damage of internal organs and tissues. This is the very beginning of the development of mesothelioma.

Malignant and Benign: The Twin Faces of Mesothelioma

The categorization of mesothelioma as being either malignant or benign comes from an examination of the exact cells that exist around the mesothelium within a given body. It takes a complete examination to determine whether or not the mesothelioma experienced by any individual is malignant or benign, but it is essential that this examination takes place before the treatment can proceed.

Benign Mesothelioma

A non-cancerous version of mesothelioma, being mesothelioma rarely occurs, and when it does it is easily eradicated using a traditional surgical techniques. The tumors of benign mesothelioma are often located in one area, and they are not frequently observed growing or metastasizing in other parts of the body after the initial development.

Malignant Mesothelioma

Unfortunately, the malignant form of mesothelioma counts toward the vast number of mesothelioma cases experienced by individuals. As opposed to the benign form, malignant mesothelioma has a tendency to grow quickly and spread rapidly. This makes it so that people suffering from this form of the cancer often do not discover the fact until the abnormal cells have already begun metastasizing through their body. It is a devastating fact that individuals diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma will typically only survive for one year, two years at most, after the initial identification of the cancer.

In some rare cases, benign mesothelioma will transform into malignant mesothelioma, and for this reason it is essential to have even the most benign forms removed from the body.

Types and Locations of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is identified by the area of the body in which it occurs. To date, there are three common forms and one uncommon form of the tumors, all of which are named after the organ to which they are attached.

Pleural Mesothelioma

The most often seen form of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma forms along the lungs’ lining. Out of all mesothelioma cases, pleural mesothelioma accounts for upwards of 80%, making it by far the most frequent - and therefore the most deadly - form of the cancer. It often transpires that pleural mesothelioma is not identified until far too late into its development, and this makes it so that the treatment of the cancer often fails to begin until the tumors are well advanced in their conquest of the body containing them.

Individuals who suffer from pleural mesothelioma display a wide variety of symptoms. These often include symptoms, such as:

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of Breath

Because these symptoms are similar to those suffering from lung cancer and other lung-related diseases, it is not uncommon for pleural mesothelioma to be incorrectly diagnosed for a lengthy period of time.

The average time for individuals diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma to survive after the initial diagnosis is between six and twelve months. Studies have shown that around 73% of patients suffering from pleural mesothelioma die within a year, while only 5% survive for five years.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

This is the second most common form of mesothelioma, making up for around 15-20% of the various mesothelioma cases diagnosed throughout the U.S. Peritoneal Mesothelioma occurs when the cancerous cells begin to appear along the abdominal cavity’s lining. Due to the corruption of this lining (which is called the peritoneum), patients suffering from this form of mesothelioma might experience symptoms such as:

  • Weight Loss
  • Pain and/or swelling in the abdominal area
  • Fluid collecting within the abdomen

While it is still a form of mesothelioma with a high fatality rate, peritoneal mesothelioma patients do possess at least a slightly better survival rate than patients suffering from other forms (particularly pericardial and pleural mesothelioma). Due to progresses made in the fields of surgery and various forms of cancer treatment (such as hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy), the number of those suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma is upwards of 92%, with those who are able to receive the combined treatments of surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy often living an extra five years.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

One of the rarest as well as one of the most consistently fatal forms of mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma affects the soft tissue that surrounds the heart sac, or the pericardium. While this is one of the least commonly seen forms of mesothelioma (accounting for only around 1% of the total number of cases diagnosed each year), this fact also makes it especially fatal as not nearly as much work has gone in to developing treatments and therapies for those suffering from this particular cancer.

Symptoms for those afflicted with pericardial mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pains
  • Excessive buildup of fluid around the heart
  • Arrhythmia (an irregular or otherwise unusual heartbeat)

As mentioned, while the number of individuals diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma each year is minuscule compared to those suffering other forms, the life expectancy is also significantly diminished. The average person who is diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma will survive for another six months, and the options for medical treatment are often relegated to such things as making sure that the suffering individual is as comfortable and pain free as possible.

Testicular Mesothelioma

The last and least common form of mesothelioma, testicular mesothelioma will manifest itself as tumors growing inside of the tunica vaginalis (testicle lining), causing those who suffer from this particular form to experience things like:

  • Unusual pain or discomfort within the testicles
  • Noticeable mass growing along the testicles
  • Swelling of the scrotum caused by the buildup of fluid.

Although only around 100 total cases of testicular mesothelioma have been diagnosed in the U.S., the prognosis for those suffering from this particular form is better than many of the others, with a 2-year average survival rate; however, it is also the case that in 93% of testicular mesothelioma cases, the tumors returned after around five years of the primary diagnosis and treatment.

What Next?

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is easy to despair. Even when treatment is successful, the possibility of regression mixes with the astronomical costs associated with any element of the medical system as it is currently structured, and people fighting for their lives can also discover themselves fighting to retain their homes as the bills begin to pile on one another.

This is why the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. and his team of legal professionals exists: to stand by your side and fight as you and your loved ones endure the challenges that emerge due to mesothelioma. For additional information about how James O. Cunningham can help you, please contact us today at 877-FL-INJURY and schedule a completely free initial consultation.

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