Mesothelioma is, fortunately, a very rare disease, generally understood to be caused by a limited number of factors. This is little comfort to this disease's victims and their families, as the prognosis is generally negative if a person experienced those factors.
The disease is an aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of vital organs like the lungs or the heart. Oncologists claim it is caused solely by the inhalation of asbestos, a type of crystalline fiber that was widely used in construction and manufacturing in the middle of the 20th century.
Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and the accumulation of fluids in the lungs. One of the difficulties with diagnosis is that these symptoms may also be associated with far more common ailments, like the early stages of congestive heart failure. In addition, symptoms appear 10 to 50 years after exposure, so asbestos exposure may not be seen as a possible cause.
The number of diagnoses is dropping, as fewer people who were working or living in places affected by asbestos survived into the second decade of the 21st century. But cases are still identified at a rate of around 3,000 per year, and asbestos exposure has led to the largest volume of civil lawsuit claims in U.S. history.
People diagnosed with mesothelioma or other ailments related to asbestos exposure often have a case against the polluters or builders who created the cause of the exposure. An attorney can help build a civil lawsuit for financial damages, including compensation for medical expenses and punitive damages for the trouble caused by their products.